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First Charm City Games, Olympic-style youth-sports competitions, coming to Baltimore in July

Soccer, basketball, tennis, and track and field will be among the sports at the Charm City Games competition, kicking off July 13.
Soccer, basketball, tennis, and track and field will be among the sports at the Charm City Games competition, kicking off July 13. (Jen Rynda / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

In July, Baltimore youth will get the chance to experience what it’s like to participate in an Olympic-style competition in the city’s first Charm City Games.

Teen athletes ages 12-14 throughout Baltimore are invited to join. Along with the mayor’s office and City Council, Baltimore City Recreation and Parks will form teams of young players to represent each of the 14 districts in the city.

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“Let the games begin,” City Council President Brandon Scott said in a news conference on Wednesday.

The announcement comes as the city is enmeshed in a debate over where and how Baltimore teens spend their free time. Recently, teens clashed with police at the Inner Harbor, with six being arrested for destruction of property and disorderly conduct. Critics have called for more constructive recreational avenues for city youth.

The Charm City Games is one among several of the solutions Mayor Jack Young has proposed.

“My administration is committed to providing educational, and in this case, recreational opportunities in our city,” Young said when he announced the Charm City Games in a news conference on Wednesday.

The games will kick off after an opening ceremony at City Hall on July 13. From July 14-20, teams will compete in a variety of sports, including soccer, basketball, tennis, and track and field.

“We want the community to come out and support these young men and women as they compete throughout the week,” Reginald Moore, the director of Baltimore City Recreation and Parks, said in the news conference.

Each district’s team will be headed by an elected council member, and the athletes will be selected through tryouts.

Athlete registration is open May 29-June 14. More information can be found here.

The winners will take home the Charm City Cup, which council members are already looking forward to winning.

“There was a time a few weeks ago that I was in a competition with my colleagues over who would have the best team, but now all the teams are mine,” Scott said.

The event is created as a way to connect the Baltimore communities through competition, Mayor Jack Young said in the news conference.

“This is something that recreation-parks staff has been working very diligently on, and for years have been talking about putting on this kind of event,” Scott said. “This isn’t the first time they’ve tried to do this event, but the first time they’ve been allowed to. This will create a very, very great thing for our young people — competition, but also a chance to be involved in constructive and physical activity.”

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