I hope that you find this web site informative. If you need other creative fitness ideas, please visit the Len Saunders home page by clicking the 'more' link below.


The Len Saunders web page will explain other successful programs such as Project ACES, PACES Day, The Country Challenge, and a wonderful program that gets children to exercise while watching TV.







The Video Olympics is a competitive event, but the emphasis should be placed on ‘personal best’. Every child that participates is encouraged to achieve the highest level of fitness possible. At no time should they feel discouraged with regards to their performance. They are to compare their scores only with their previous results in the competition, not with other participants. The great thing about the Video Olympics is the continuity factor. Children that participate can compare their new scores to their past scores to see if any improvement was shown in performance.

For A Healthy Competitive Spirit

  • Put emphasis on personal best
  • Avoid any type of elimination
  • Do not put too much emphasis on the winning and losing aspect
  • Stress that sportsmanship is important
  • Focus on the skill at hand
  • Concentrate on learning the skill
  • All children get cheered and praised equally
  • Success is effort, and effort is success
  • If possible, make any competitive fitness activity voluntary
  • The focus should be on effort, not the score
  • Make the atmosphere a fun, not pressured, environment

In the finale, the Video Olympics will pit the champions from one school or club against the champions from another school or club. The main emphasis is placed on each child to achieve their personal best. They should attempt to improve their own personal score as they progress in the competition.


The first thing you will need to do is to find another school or club that is willing to compete with your institution. It could be another school or club in your town, or half way across the world. The further away, the better! It is actually very easy to find a competing school. Let’s say you wanted to find another elementary school to compete with your school. Just go on the Internet and do a search for Elementary Schools. You will be amazed how many results you will get. Once you pick another school, just email the PE teacher / fitness instructor at that school. Many schools post the teacher's emails on their web pages. A good start is to send them to this web page so they can understand the concept behind your email.

Example Of The Video Olympics

For description purposes, we will use a 9th grade high school class to demonstrate how the Video Olympics (VO) work. You will need to pick what we call “challenge categories” for the children to participate. The categories must be exactly the same as your competing school or club. For our example, the challenge categories will be pull-ups, push-ups, curl-ups in one minute, and jumping rope for one minute. The ultimate goal is a ninth grade winner (the word ‘representative’ will be used for the rest of this page to replace the word ‘winner’) for the most pull-ups, push-ups, curl-ups, and jumping rope. You should also divide the categories by gender to allow equal boy and girl representatives. Your representatives will then be videotaped and mailed to the competing school, who will videotape their representatives.

Your videotape (as well as your competitor's tape) should have a boy and girl representative in the events of pull-ups, push-ups, curl-ups, and jumping rope. This would total 8 children on the tape. If you decide to have more grades participate, of course your videotape would be a little longer. The exchange of tapes should be completed on a set, predetermined date for fairness.

jumprope Now that you understand a little about the VO, let’s work in progression to get you to your ultimate goal of having representatives from each division and skill. In your ninth grade PE class, talk about the VO with your children. Tell the children exactly how it is organized. Explain the “challenge categories” with descriptions about how the event will be measured. Tell the children they can sign up on a voluntary basis for only one event. Post sign up sheets in your room for the children to sign up for their event. Send home permission slips to the parents with dates for the children to stay after school to participate in their event.

When the day arrives to participate, you monitor how the children perform. Mark down their scores. For example, I may do all the girls performing pull-ups first. After they attempt the skill, I mark their score in my notebook. When they finish, applaud their efforts as well as thanking them for participating. When all the girls performing pull-ups are completed, I now have the girl representative (the girl who did the most) executing pull-ups in the main event on video. Do this for every child, for every event. Depending on how many children sign up, you may have to extend this to a second or third day to finish.

Your Finale

When completed, you now have all your representatives to film in your finale of the Video Olympics. Do not put too much emphasis on winning. Now, here is the catch. I like to do a ‘call back’ session. For the children that participated, I invite them back a month later to try and improve on their initial score. This is working on the personal best aspect previously mentioned. The majority of children who train will improve their score. I applaud all the children who attend the call back! I may even do call backs a few times throughout the year as a motivational tool.

pullup The first session of the VO is now complete. Since you have all your representatives in place, now is the time to promote Physical Education and children’s fitness. Work with the Principal to have a school fitness assembly. The purpose of the assembly is filming your school representatives (champions) for exchange with the other school. All the children who received the highest scores now have to perform their skill again with the video camera running. This film is what the other school is going to see in a few days. Invite the entire school population, parents, and administrators to watch these incredible performances by the children who are representing your school.

The Benefits Of An Assembly

  • You can invite the local media to cover the event
  • The assembly is a non-competitive event, since you cannot see the children from the other school participate
  • It teaches great skills to the other students viewing the assembly
  • It shows the importance of good fitness habits
  • It puts PE or fitness in the spotlight
  • It shows parents as well as your working colleagues the significance of your program.
  • It could motivate other children to exercise on their own

Once you have all your representatives videotaped, mail it to the other school on the predetermined date. The fun is when you get the other video a couple of days later from the competing school. It is a great opportunity to have a second assembly and show the results from the other school. For example, we would show the video of our boy who did 19 pull-ups. Then we would show the video of the child from the other school do his pull-ups to if he achieved a higher or lower score.