View photos of the action from today's competition here.
John Zilverberg - Still Rolling at 103
“I was born on August 2, 1913. I grew up in South Dakota…I enlisted in the Marines when the war started...”
His face reflects years of experience and toil, and his body is bowed, but as John Zilverberg begins to speak, it’s hard to believe he could be 103 years old. Though he’s quiet and methodical about his movements, he still exudes a youthful and competitive spirit. “I was mostly in the South Pacific,” he continues. “As soon as the war was over, I got back to the cattle ranch…”
The second game of singles bowling interrupts his story. Three frames in, he delivers a 14-pound strike that brings gasps and cheers of surprise. The first game score was 118, a dozen pins below the average John gets from bowling in his league three times a week. His high score since passing the century mark has been 180.
Age is hardly his most remarkable accomplishment. John continues to achieve excellence in his life, as evidenced by the support of his family in attendance, and by the scholarship annually awarded in his name at South Dakota State University. For his age, he is also achieving excellence in his sporting life, which includes track and field and other events at South Dakota Senior Games in addition to his bowling avocation.
Many are curious as to where John found his fountain of youth, but he shares that his secret is hardly a secret at all.
“Well, you gotta live a clean life. See to it you get enough exercise. I got mine from hard work.”
By: Ashley Williams and Del Moon
Games Daily Recap
Gloria Wilson – An Inspiration to All
On a rainy morning at Hoover Met, Gloria Wilson of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee powered through the 5000 meter race walk, letting nothing stand in her way.
Gloria, 85, sustained many injuries from a fall that caused her to have “plates and nuts and screws and bolts” put in her leg, back, foot and wrist. “They once told me that I could never walk again,” says Gloria, “but I was determined I was gonna walk out of there.”
And sure enough, she did. With the help of a walker, Gloria is able to continue to exercise. Gloria believes that if seniors keep moving, they will live healthier and happier lives.
Before Gloria finished the race, the rain began to pour down on the course. However, she was determined to reach her goal. “I said, ‘I’m finishing this race,’ and I did what I came here to do,” she says.
Her daughter, Gaye Lynn Wilson, was there to support her every step of the way. “She’s the one who keeps me training and going.”
Gloria completed her race in one hour and 31 minutes, well behind the pack. But that didn’t matter. Many fellow racers came to congratulate her and called her an inspiration.
Gloria plans to continue to race walk as long as she can. “I’m bionic, and I’m gonna keep going until they run out of parts,” she laughs.
By: Madison Lathum
30th Anniversary “Great Eight” Poster Girl Sighting
As people enter the Village to check in, the red-carpeted hallway displays the official commemorative posters from each National Senior Games going back to 1987.
St. Louis native Dottie Gray is one of the “Great Eight” athletes who have competed in all of those games, and she also holds the distinction of being the featured athlete in the 1993 poster for Baton Rouge. “That was a surprise. I didn’t even know they were going to do that until I got there,” she recalls.
You can read Dottie’s Personal Best feature interview in the 30th Anniversary section at NSGA.com. While you are in Birmingham, take advantage of the opportunity to browse through memorabilia on display in The Village Health & Wellness Expo.
By: Del Moon
Download the FREE National Senior Games App Today
Get the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana in the palm of your hand with the National Senior Games app. Download the free app, brought to you by Humana, to access event info, schedules and results. Get to your location with venue information and maps. See what’s going on around The Games via the social media feed.
To download on your Apple or Android device, search “National Senior Games” in the Apple or Google Play store. Create a profile, connect your social media channels and start sharing your National Senior Games experience.
Sam Padfield’s Tennis Inspiration is Unending
Sam Padfield may be 91 years old, but for those who watch him play tennis at the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana, he turns out an effort as youthful and talented as a high-level competitor.
The Hot Springs Village, Arkansas resident has participated in the National Senior Games since 1989 thanks to the encouragement of his late sister. “She got me into The Games because I didn’t even know about them, but she said we could play doubles. Sure enough, we ended up being a great duo on the courts,” Sam says with pride.
His favorite Senior Games story has been shared in NSGA’s Memories of the Games feature found on the 30th Anniversary feature section at NSGA.com. In it, Sam relates the time their tennis opponents told him and his sister that they were detectives, and that it would be best not to win the match if they did not wish to receive tickets. “I told him OK, and we went on about our match. We beat them anyway.”
Sam proudly served his country in World War II, being drafted by the United States Army shortly into his first semester of college. After the war concluded, Sam returned to Colorado Community college (now the University of Northern Colorado) to earn his degree. “After we got done with the Nazis, I did what Patton told me to do and went back to finish college.” Anyone who has gone back to school knows this is no easy feat, but perhaps his relentless competitive spirit was forged from these early experiences.
Despite numerous medals and admiration of others for having attended all but two National Senior Games, Sam carries himself with an honorable modesty, and he welcomes conversation with anyone he meets. “Well, I’ve been very fortunate in my life to be able to attend that many Games, and to travel all over the country,” he says.
Sam continues to participate in The Games despite the passing of both his sister and his wife. He says they inspire him to continue in their honor, believing it is exactly what they would have wished for him.
By: Stephen Porier
#StartWithHealthy in The Village
Active aging is a core value of the National Senior Games, so there is no company more fit as a partner than Humana. Humana remains actively involved in promoting healthy and active lifestyles supporting the National Senior Games as the presenting sponsor since 2007. Athletes, family members, and other attendees can experience a mix of healthy and engaging activities at the Humana booth in The Village Health & Wellness Expo.
All are welcome at Humana’s booth, which provides helpful information and resources to visitors of all ages. The Humana footprint is a place where everyone can learn about their health, and use their knowledge to inspire those in their community.
Joshua May, a promo specialist for Humana, explains some of the activities, “On the treadmills, for every mile that you walk, we donate $20 to Feeding America and the participant will get a towel and water. There are also a lot of people doing the BMI test.”
This experience has been inspiring for Joshua. “It makes me feel good doing events like this just because I like to see my elders. Usually I work concerts and other stuff for young people, but this gives me another look on life, you know, maybe I should watch what I eat, maybe I should like running, maybe I should incorporate more physical activity so when I can get to this age I can still do this.”
A crowd favorite in the Humana footprint is the photo booth. Seniors can accessorize with props to create fun pictures and GIFs to redefine what it means to have a senior moment.
Don’t miss your opportunity to learn more about Humana and your own health and wellness during the 2017 National Senior Games in Birmingham!
By: Ashley Williams
Humana Game Changer: Kathleen Fisken, 75, Bethesda, MD
Inspired to get in the pool at an early age by her mother, Kathleen Fisken became an avid swimmer starting in high school. Since then, she has competed in multiple specialty swim events, including the One Mile Chesapeake Bay Open and an open-water 2K in Bermuda. When she was diagnosed with uterine cancer in February 2017 – and received subsequent treatment in March – Kathleen was motivated to get back in the pool right away so that she could train for the 2017 National Senior Games. Kathleen will compete this year in multiple freestyle, backstroke and individual medley races.