We refer to the way Olympians think and act as Olympism, and we want to share it with our community. Thanks to our partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District, Olympians and Paralympians are preaching the gospel of Olympism to thousands of elementary, middle and high school students in public schools throughout the Los Angeles area. By doing so, we are leaving a legacy for future generations.
Ready, Set, Gold! is a mentoring program. Each Olympian and Paralympian is matched to a specific school and makes five visits to their adopted school at intervals throughout the academic year. Their mission is to inspire, motivate and educate the students about health and fitness as long-term goals.
Ready, Set, Gold! is also 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 every visit.
On the first visit, goals are set. On subsequent visits, students’ progress is monitored. Near the end of the school year, each student is given the California-mandated FitnessGram test, which assesses five components of physical fitness: Aerobic Capacity, Muscular Strength, Muscular Endurance, Flexibility and Body Composition. The test is mandatory for 5th, 7th, and 9th graders, which is why our Olympians and Paralympians are focused on those grade levels. At each visit, the athletes encourage students to improve their fitness and eating habits so they perform to the best of their ability on FitnessGram. The results of this test serves as a benchmark for measuring RSG!’s success.
How does Ready, Set, Gold! work?
Ready, Set, Gold! is a public-private partnership between the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games, LAUSD, Samsung and The Foundation for Global Sports Development. This alliance works to provide a much needed and beneficial service. The program can serve as a lifelong model for students in fighting the childhood obesity epidemic by teaching young people the importance of proper physical activity and nutrition.
What are the Ready, Set, Gold! results?
Analysis of Ready, Set, Gold!’s impact is performed both quantitatively and qualitatively. Quantitatively, 5th, 7th and 9th grade students take the FitnessGram test (a statewide-mandated physical exercise test) in the Spring. The Ready, Set, Gold! analysis is conducted by Dr. Robert Desharnais, Professor of Biology, Cal State Los Angeles. Dr. Desharnais has been performing this analysis every year since 2009.
Ready, Set, Gold! is having a particularly meaningful impact on 5th and 7th graders. We also found that it’s not as impactful with 9th graders—which is essential to know because as a result we have been able to adjust the program to focus more on grades 5 and 7. In summary, the data suggests that Ready, Set, Gold! is having a significant positive impact on the younger students.
Why was Ready, Set, Gold! created?
Due to the alarming concern over the rise in childhood obesity rates in Los Angeles, Ready, Set, Gold! was formed in September 2006 as part of the city’s bid to host the 2016 Olympics. The mission of Ready, Set, Gold! is to promote student fitness, proper nutrition, a drug-free lifestyle and overall well-being. By giving students direct interaction with Olympians and Paralympians, the program provides youngsters with real life examples of how setting goals helped the athletes to be successful and healthy in sport and in life.
Over the past decade, the program has more than doubled in size, from its original iteration of 25 schools to its present day 55 and counting, positively affecting approximately 15,000 students each year.
Ready, Set, Gold! remains the only program of its kind in the country and is scalable and replicable. The program is endorsed by the Los Angeles City Council, LAUSD and LA 2024, and operates under the auspices of the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games.
Who Makes Ready, Set, Gold! Possible?
Olympic swimming champion John Naber is the Chairman of the Ready, Set, Gold! program. John, who swam collegiately at USC, won four gold medals and one silver medal at the 1976 Summer Games in Montreal, and is widely considered one of the finest American swimmers ever. In 2016, he succeeded Founding Chairman and 1984 Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Peter Vidmar.
RSG! is made possible thanks to the oversight of the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games and the generous support of primary sponsors Samsung (a world-wide Olympic and Paralympic sponsor) and The Foundation for Global Sports Development.