THE GREAT EIGHT
"There’s another definition of “personal best” that anyone can achieve. It’s not about a peak time or distance in sports; it’s about overcoming obstacles, staying motivated throughout your life and inspiring others by your example. This results in greater longevity and a healthy, active lifestyle – and that is your Personal Best!"
Each year since 2013, NSGA has profiled a variety of senior athletes who exemplify the pursuit of a lifelong Personal Best. Their stories show how everyone can live a more active lifestyle. For 2017, the Personal Best program features eight amazing athletes who have competed in every National Senior Games since the first in 1987. Enjoy getting to know "The Great Eight."
The Great Eight
As you read through Ed True’s life history in the feature, it becomes clear that the multi-faceted man has never found himself wondering what to do next with his life. It’s also evident that he has made the most from every turn he has taken.
When Dottie Gray signed up for the first national sports competition for seniors in 1987, she had no idea how far the road ahead would stretch. In fact, before she was 54, the petite powerhouse had no idea she would even become a runner, or that her example would inspire many others to pursue fitness.
You might say Leroy “Lee” Stadem has a reverence for sports and fitness. He believes that keeping active is a necessary component to living a full life mentally and spiritually, and he considers himself a humble example for others to follow. A big reason for this modesty is because Lee served as a Lutheran minister for more than six decades in and around his home state of South Dakota.
There are just some people in the world that catch you by surprise. When you first meet George Freeman, he doesn’t strike you as an outgoing, gregarious person. He possesses an unassuming and good-natured personality that puts people at ease, and he is a good listener. However, once he starts talking, joking, and telling stories, he has the ability to light up a room without really trying. He also possesses a quiet determination that matches with his love of distance running, and he has covered a lot of ground by competing in every National Senior Games with no end in sight.
No one loves water more than Jordan Wolle. That could be the setup for a joke, given that he has lived most of his life in arid New Mexico. However, he is quick to state his opinion that there are more good swimmers per capita there than most other states. He is also proud to have represented The Land of Enchantment in every National Senior Games since the first in 1987.
For a man who didn’t start running until after he was 50, Roy Englert has made up for lost time. In fact, the level of fitness he has achieved as a senior athlete has undoubtedly added to his time on earth. At 94, the retired U.S. Treasury employee isn’t contemplating anything but continued running and competing to achieve his Personal Best.
It’s always good to look your best. For Ann McGowan, it’s essential, even when she’s competing as a senior athlete. That’s because Ann was a hairdresser, cosmetology instructor and salon owner for more than 40 years. As a youngster, she discovered her love and aptitude for hair styling when she was inspired by glamorous stars in the movies and then begged her sister to let her replicate the designs she saw. While not at it full-time anymore, she still styles her own hair and has her tools at the ready to help others.
Of eight athletes who have competed in every National Senior Games since 1987, Hazel is perhaps the most surprising to have achieved perfect attendance. The retired licensed practical nurse has been bowling since her late husband bought her “a real ball” over 60 years ago. She loved league play, and in 1984 started going to the US Bowling Congress (then called Women’s International Bowling Congress) national tournament. She hasn’t missed one since. She and her doubles partner then read a flyer about New Jersey Senior Olympics and the first national games for seniors being organized in St. Louis, and after trying them out both events became must-go competitions. In fact, Hazel has not missed any of the three events for more than three decades.
George Freeman - 30 Year Personal Best Athlete
Version : February 1, 2017
Jordan Wolle - 30 Year Personal Best Athlete
Version : February 1, 2017
05 June 2018
Brad Winter, 66, Albuquerque, New Mexico When Brad Winter was a kid, he and his friends liked to use a broomstick to jump up on walls. “My f...
01 June 2018
Clearwater, FL - In 2017, The National Senior Games proudly celebrated its 30th Anniversary. As the largest multisport event in the world fo...
09 May 2018
Peggy Birkenbuel, 79, Fairbanks, Alaska When athletes travel to the National Senior Games, they usually fly if the drive is more than a day ...
09 April 2018
Kamal Chaudhari, 83, Temple Terrace, Florida The game of badminton has been around for more than two thousand years, but it did not gain wor...