The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is an amateur sports organization based in the United States. A multi-sport organization, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports and physical fitness programs. It claims to have over 670,000 participants and over 100,000 volunteers.
The AAU was founded in 1888 by William Buckingham Curtis to establish standards and uniformity in amateur sport. During its early years the AAU served as a leader in international sport representing the United States in the international sports federations. The AAU worked closely with the Olympic movement to prepare athletes for the Olympic Games.
After the Amateur Sports Act of 1978 broke up the AAU’s responsibility as the national Olympic sports governing body, the AAU focused on providing sports programs for all participants of all ages beginning at the local and regional levels. The philosophy of the AAU is “Sports for All, Forever.” The AAU is divided into 56 distinct district associations, which annually sanction 34 sports programs, 250 national championships, and over 30,000 age division events. The AAU events have over 500,000 participants and over 50,000 volunteers.
These wonderful color photographs were taken by Peter Stackpole at the 1959 swimming and diving championships of the Amateur Athletic Union, which were held in Palm Beach, Florida.