By Katinka Podmaniczky

On the day of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies in London, Mayor Thomas M. Menino hosted the Boston Moves for Health Olympics at Boston Centers for Youth & Families Tobin Community Center. During the afternoon, local youth participated in basketball, sprinting, jump rope, and hula hoop competitions. Youth also played the newly released London 2012 Olympics Official Microsoft Xbox Kinect game.

“The Olympics inspire all of us to participate in sports and physical activity, and encourage us to make Boston a healthier city,” said Mayor Menino. “I want our youth to know that the Olympics are more than just watching from the couch – anyone can get outside and plan their own mini-Olympics to get active.”

Special guest 2008 Paralympics Gold Medalist in sailing Maureen McKinnon Tucker greeted the youth, showed off her medal from the Bejing games, and encouraged them to stay healthy and active. In addition to her Olympic success, Tucker has founded Courageous Sailing, located in East Boston. The non-profit organization fosters a community that embraces sailing as a platform for life-long learning, personal growth and leadership. It is also committed to removing barriers to sailing access for all Boston youth, the public, and people with physical and intellectual challenges. Also on hand was Nicole Freedman, a member of the US cycling team at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, and former head of the city’s “Boston Bikes” initiative.

As part of his ambitious Boston Moves for Health campaign, Mayor Menino has challenged Bostonians to move ten million miles together. With all today’s activities combined, the youth added more than 220 miles to the current total of more than 314,000 miles moved that are being tallied at

“Kids should be active for at least sixty minutes every day,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “Showing them it can be fun, engaging, and rewarding is an important part of the Boston Moves for Health initative.”

Katinka is the assistant director of communications at BPHC.