About Us

RSG! is a public-private partnership between the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games (SCCOG), a 501(c)3 organization, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and Samsung, a world-wide Olympic sponsor. This partnership works to provide a much needed and beneficial service which the LAUSD is unable to provide on its own. The program can serve as a lifelong model for other students in fighting the epidemics of diabetes and obesity by teaching physical activity and healthy living habits. With over 800 Olympians and Paralympians in Southern California, our program has the potential for further growth. We are currently reaching 15,000 students each year.

How does RSG! Work?

Ready, Set, Gold! is a mentoring program. Each Olympian and Paralympian is matched to a specific public school and makes five visits to their adopted school at intervals throughout the academic year. Their mission is to inspire, motivate and educate their students about health and fitness as long-term goals. On the first visit, goals are set. On subsequent visits, students’ progress is monitored. At the end of the year the students are given the State of California-mandated FitnessGram test, which measures students’ physical fitness. During their visits to the schools, the athletes encourage each student to improve their fitness and eating habits so they perform to the best of their ability on FitnessGram. The results of this test serve as a benchmark for measuring RSG!’s success. The FitnessGram is required for 5th, 7th, and 9th graders, which is why our Olympians and Paralympians are focused strictly in those grades.

RSG! is a structured program; teachers and Olympians/Paralympians follow a protocol (written by a LAUSD Physical Education teacher) and plan each session in advance. Olympians and Paralympians receive an honorarium for each visit.

What are the RSG! results? 

Analysis of RSG! impact is performed quantitatively and qualitatively. Quantitatively, 5th, 7th and 9th grade students took the FitnessGram test (a statewide-mandated physical exercise test) in Spring 2016. The RSG! analysis is performed by Dr. Robert Desharnais of California State University, Los Angeles, Professor of Biology, School of Natural and Social Sciences. Dr. Desharnais has been performing this analysis every year since 2009.

The good news is that it appears that the number of students in grades 5th and 7th that achieve the Healthy Fitness Zone (HFZ) for 5 or more of the 6 FitnessGram measures has a statistically significant increase in the RSG! schools relative to the non-RSG! schools. This is consistent with what was found in the previous analysis in 2014-15. The results for grade 9 indicate a decrease in the performance on the FitnessGram for the RSG! schools versus the control schools for both response variables.

In summary, the data suggest that RSG! is having a significant positive impact on younger students. It is recommended that RSG! focus more of its resources on the 5th and 7th grades. And we will; we will continue in the elementary and high schools that we are in and add to the former when necessary.

Anecdotal evidence also indicates that the program is working. The comments of Physical Education teacher Christine Berni-Ramos of Elizabeth Learning Center are typical: “The kids are so enthusiastic about [Olympian Cathy Marino’s] presence and knowing that they have her support for FitnessGram. Cathy let them know the most important factor is that they try to beat their last score and to try for their personal best. What made a difference was when Cathy let them know that she believed in them and their eyes lit up.”

We also have examples of teachers and other students who have been motivated by RSG! to lose weight and make important lifestyle changes on their own. Testimonials could be found on our home page, under the Meet RSG! tab.

Why was RSG! created?

Ready, Set, Gold! began in September 2006 to tackle the epidemics of childhood obesity and diabetes. RSG! promotes student fitness, nutrition, a drug-free lifestyle and overall well-being. By giving students direct interaction with Olympians and Paralympians, the program provides students with real life examples of how setting goals helped the athletes to be successful and healthy in sport and in life.

RSG! is the only program of its kind in the country, is scalable and replicable. The program is endorsed by the City of Los Angeles, LAUSD and LA 2024, and operates as part of the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games (SCCOG).

SCCOG was formed in 1939 at the request of the United States Olympic Committee reflecting the success of the 1932 Games in Los Angeles. SCCOG has continued to provide its support to the Olympic Movement and bring the spirit and competition of the Olympics to Southern California. This was exemplified in their successful bid for the 1984 L.A. Olympics and the history-making success of those Games. 

Who Makes RSG! Possible?

bernadine   david_simon headshot mark    
Bernadine Bednarz   David Simon John Naber Mark Meyers    
Program Director   SCCOG President RSG! Chairman Publicist    

RSG!  is made possible thanks to the oversight of the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games and the generous support of Samsung, an Olympic Sponsor.