Every year, Ready, Set, Gold! recruits a cohort of Olympians and Paralympians who are placed in schools participating in the program. The program typically begins in the first few months of the school year and concludes after the FitnessGram test is administered in the spring. The program predominantly serves students in the fifth grade (ages 10-11), seventh grade (ages 12-13) and ninth grade (ages 14-15) – the years California requires students take the FitnessGram assessment.  


Olympians and Paralympians co-teach lessons with a teacher at their placement school. They are expected to call and speak with the teacher ahead of time, and schedule five lessons at their selected school throughout the school year. Each lesson includes both a fitness element that is tested on the FitnessGram and a growth mindset element that will support students in setting and achieving academic, personal, as well as fitness goals.

How does Ready, Set, Gold! work?

Ready, Set, Gold! is a public-private partnership between the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games, 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?

Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games (SCCOG) is a 501(c)(3) organization that was originally founded in 1939 to bid for opportunities to host the Olympic Games in Los Angeles. In order to invest in the Olympic legacy of Southern California – which boasts the largest population of Olympic and Paralympic athletes in the world – SCCOG created the Ready, Set, Gold! program in 2006 with the mission of promoting healthy lifestyles and inspiring, motivating, and educating students about health and fitness as lifelong goals.


Ready, Set, Gold! pairs Olympians and Paralympians with Southern California schools to help students prepare for the FitnessGram, a California state fitness test administered to students in the fifth, seventh, and ninth grades with the goal of encouraging regular physical activity, resulting in healthy lifelong habits.  During the school year, RSG! athletes conduct five visits to their school, sharing their Olympic or Paralympic story and how it shaped them into the champion they are today. The athletes coach students on the different components of the FitnessGram along with growth mindset topics such as goal-setting, perseverance, and resilience – skills that helped them become world-class athletes.

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 2028, and operates under the auspices of the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games.

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