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Olympian Olga Korbut helps kick-off Simplot Games

Thousands of young athletes from across the country are gathering in the gate city for the Simplot games.

That’s good news for Pocatello area business owners.

Throughout the week student athletes will fill Holt Arena.

Along with being one of the biggest youth track events in the world, Simplot Games representatives, said it’s special because it brings beginners and world class athletes together in one special place.

“They love the friendliness of eastern Idaho. A lot of them have never been in this kind of environment. For most athletes this is an opportunity to pit their strength against the world stage,” Simplot Games Public Relations Manager Rick Phillips said.

Of course, having thousands of young competitors coming to town, along with many of their families, means big bucks for local businesses.

Simplot said an economic firm calculated just how much money the games bring in.

“It’s about a $6 million boost to our local economy. It’s an important thing, it comes at a good time in February when typically the hotels are pretty empty and the restaurants are looking for business,” Phillips said.

Olga Korbut is in town to take in the games.. In the 1970’s Olga was an olympic superstar, winning four gold medals and two silvers in womens gymnastics.

She said seeing the young people giving their all in the games takes her back to her own time competing, and had some words of wisdom for the athletes.

“To be very, very strong and believe your goal. Believe in yourself and they all the time will win, no matter what,” Korbut said.

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