Richard “Moon” Mullen
La Jolla Junior Olympics
Richard “Moon” Mullen will forever be remembered for his selfless nature, boundless energy and enthusiasm. He loved his country, his family and his time as a Naval aviator, but serving the La Jolla community through the La Jolla Kiwanis Club brought him special joy and pleasure. He served as president twice and also as Lt. Governor.
In 1992, he started La Jolla Junior Olympics with the help and support of the La Jolla Kiwanis Club members and local volunteers.
Our father “Moon,” who got the nickname from the cartoon character “Moon Mullins,” came up with the idea for the competition while on leave with the Navy in Japan. While hiking up an island trail to a volcano, he came upon a small community, Sasebo, where he witnessed families competing against one another including parents, grandparents and their children.
Little did he know that witnessing this family-friendly competition would be the “seed” to bringing a similar type event to La Jolla many years later where elementary school children competed in track and field events.
This year marks the 31st anniversary and without question the event has grown in popularity. It has become La Jolla’s biggest sports event exclusively for children. Its success can be measured by the humble beginnings, where only a few schools and a couple hundred children participated, to today where nearly 1,000 children between ages 5 and 12 compete from nine different local elementary schools.
Giving back to the community and improving the lives of children is at the heart of the La Jolla Kiwanis Club, which underwrites this event through La Jolla Kiwanis Pancake Day and the La Jolla Half Marathon.
While the participation and admission are free, donations are appreciated to help underwrite some of the expenses and ensure its viability for future generations. Volunteers of all ages are also welcome and always in need.
On behalf of the family, we would like to acknowledge all the volunteers who have contributed their time and talents over the years, and, in particular, Carl and Jeanine Volinski. They have faithfully and tirelessly supported our father’s vision since his passing in 2015.
In 2024, Carl and Jeanine passed the torch to co-chairs Jean Kim and Wendy Matalon and their wonderful committee. We are excited to be working with them to keep this event flourishing and our father’s legacy alive.
Daughters, Karen Mullen & Sandy Pearce