Cincinnati Neighborhood Olympics to encourage community engagement

This past summer, Henry Frondorf, chairman of the Cincinnati Neighborhood Olympics, watched the World Cup on Fountain Square, and he thought it would be cool to have a tournament like it within Cincinnati’s boundaries. Instead of country vs. country, it would be neighborhood vs. neighborhood.
Although the CNO is still in the early planning stages, Frondorf has received a lot of positive feedback from the city and residents.
The goal of the CNO is to bring neighborhood leaders together, and connect neighbors with neighbors, which is intended to make the neighborhoods stronger.
“You might know your next door neighbor, but you probably don’t know the ones three blocks away,” Frondorf says. “The CNO isn’t about the events, but about bringing people together.”
In order to participate in the CNO, each neighborhood will have to hold its own event championship in order to move on to the Olympics. The CNO will then take place on a weekend in July 2016 in various locations, including downtown and Over-the-Rhine.
“The point is to make it as inclusive as possible,” says Pam Roebel, marketing chair of the CNO. “It won’t be all about sporting events, but cultural events as well.”
The Games will consist of a variety of events, including a 5K, a softball throw, a football kick or throw, a wiffle ball homerun derby, a water balloon toss, table tennis, tug-of-war, chess and monologue reading.
Frondorf says the CNO will be simple—it will be all-inclusive and inexpensive, and there will be few referees or umpires and simple rules.
The Olympics will go live on March 7 at the Invest in Neighborhoods annual summit. An Olympic Congress will then be held next October, and neighborhood leaders will form an Olympic Committee and form a handbook that will make the Games easy.
“We hope that the Olympics create a sense of pride,” Frondorf says. “We’re going to encourage each neighborhood to come up with their own flag, and the flags will be raised when the neighborhoods medal in each event.”
The CNO is still looking for volunteers—if you’re interested, contact Frondorf at [email protected], Facebook or @cincyolympics.

Read more articles by Caitlin Koenig.

Caitlin Koenig is a Cincinnati transplant and 2012 grad of the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. She's the department editor for Soapbox Media and currently lives in Northside with her husband, Andrew, and their three furry children. Follow Caitlin on Twitter at @caite_13.  
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