The city of Laredo has something to offer everyone from its rich history and architecture to its authentic Mexican cuisine and views of the Rio Grande River. For sports enthusiasts, Laredo does not disappoint thanks to its Border Olympics, a non-profit organization that got its start on February 21, 1932, as part of Laredo’s Washington’s Birthday Celebration. Today, the Border Olympics are celebrating its 87th year in operation!
Designed as part of Laredo’s Washington’s Birthday Celebration, the first Border Olympics were held in February 1932 and included five track meets known as the International Frontier Olympics. The event was organized by the Washington’s Birthday Celebration Association (WBCA) and attracted athletes from high schools, colleges, and universities throughout Texas and Mexico. Surprisingly, the event was a massive success in its first year and soon attracted athletes from around the world.
As an international event, the Border Olympics experienced a few growing pains in the late 1940s and replaced the WBCA with an official Board of Directors and planning council. Under the new administration, the event flourished and moved its original event date from Washington’s birthday on the evening of February 21st to the first full weekend in March, a tribute to Texas Independence Day on March 2nd. The Border Olympics have been held on the same weekend ever since and now feature a long lineup of events and athletes.
The collegiate golf tournament was added in 1952 followed by the collegiate tennis tournament in 1976. The high school baseball tournament was added in 1987 followed by the girls’ track and field division in 1989. In the 1990s, the high school golf division returned, and, by the new millennium, the girls’ softball division took the Border Olympics by storm in 2002. Soccer made its debut in 2004 with the boys’ and girls’ divisions both expanding again in 2005.
Today, the Border Olympics continues to grow with hundreds of athletes competing in track and field, baseball, softball, golf, soccer, basketball, and tennis. The Border Olympics Men’s Collegiate Golf Tournament is the longest running golf tournament in the country and attracts athletes from around the world making it one of the most competitive events in collegiate athletics in the south!
With plans for the 2020 Border Olympics well underway, we can’t way to see how many athletes travel to Laredo to compete in one of the biggest events in the southwest!