More than 11,500 Senior Athletes set to compete
PITTSBURGH, PA – Senior Athletes like to say age is just a number. When you bring 11,576 Senior Athletes together for a display of healthy active aging, it’s a number that really gets your attention.
That’s what Pittsburgh will witness when athletes aged 50 and over compete in 20 medal sports at the 2023 National Senior Games presented by Humana, taking place at venues around the region from July 7-18. Another 15,000 family members and companions are expected to travel with them. The David L. Lawrence Convention Center will serve as the hub of activity, hosting several sports and the popular Village expo area open to the public.
The National Senior Games Association (NSGA) says this represents the fourth largest number in the 35-year history of The Games, and the Olympic-style event is now recognized as the largest qualified multisport event in the world.
“Pittsburgh is the City of Champions and loves their sports,” NSGA Interim CEO Sue Hlavacek said. “We believe this has engaged the city to embrace our athletes. We’re grateful for the community support for the volunteers who are coming out to help.”
The Games are made possible by a partnership with the host community. “Pittsburgh has earned a reputation as a major sports and travel destination, and we’re delighted to welcome the National Senior Games and its inspirational athletes to town,” SportsPITTSBURGH Executive Director Jennifer Hawkins said. “More than 10,000 athletes from all over the country will take part in the competition, which gives us a great opportunity to highlight the importance of health and wellness for those over the age of 50. We are committed to providing the athletes, their supporters and event personnel with a first-class experience on and off the playing fields, showcasing all the great attractions Pittsburgh has to offer.”
“Bridging Champions Through the Ages”
Competitions are held in five-year age brackets from 50 to 100+. The oldest competitor is 104-year old track sprinter E. Gerald Meyer of Laramie, Wyoming, who earned one of his degrees at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Three other Centenarians will compete, notably runner Roy Englert of Virginia, one of only two remaining athletes to have competed in every National Senior Games since 1987. Other triple-digit athletes include Ohio bowler Merle Meeder and table tennis player Robert Henry from South Carolina.
The 2023 Theme “Bridging Champions Through the Ages” highlights the many ways that these active older athletes impact the generations. Many children have aged up and joined their parents in the Games, and others teach or work with younger people as role models for successful aging. Pennsylvania’s oldest competitor is Pittsburgh native Jack Eckenrode, who will cycle and run track at age 95 and proudly states, “I have 12 children, 42 grandchildren and 48 great-grandchildren, and all of them ride bikes like me!”
Hlavacek noted this theme highlights the NSGA mission to promote well-being that goes well beyond hosting athletic competitions. “Senior athletes are not just going for medals, they are also gaining the benefits of social interaction and having goals to motivate them to keep moving,” she said. “It’s a lifelong journey that can begin for anyone, at any skill level, at any age. We hope our examples inspire all aging adults to remain active for life whether they choose to play a sport or do something else recreationally.”
Rooftop Torch Relay, Drone Show Kicks Off Special Events and Programs
The Flame Arrival Ceremony is set for Saturday evening, July 8th at a new rooftop terrace space at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. The program will feature a welcome by former Pirates All-Star and World Series champion Steve Blass, and Cherokee cyclist Simeon Gipson will present gifts to Pittsburgh from the Cherokee nation after he made a 1,000 mile bike trek from Oklahoma to Pittsburgh.
The highlight will be a Torch Run that will begin at the Willie Stargell statue by PNC Park and cross the Rachel Carson Bridge into the convention center, arriving at a cauldron specifically homemade in the Steel City. A drone show provided by Sky Elements will close the night in a spectacular setting overlooking the Allegheny River and downtown. The event is free and open to the public.
There will also be a Celebration of Athletes on Friday, July 14th hosted by the Pittsburgh Pirates at the iconic PNC Park, with onfield recognition and the Parade of States happening prior to the game, and then athletes will enjoy the baseball game.
Three other public programs and activities are planned during the Games. Details on these, Village information and more can be found at the Special Events page at NSGA.com.
Another major activity at the convention center will be the Senior Athlete Fitness Exam (SAFE). SAFE has conducted athlete screenings at The Games since 2011 and reflects NSGA’s mission to promote health and well-being. The ongoing program has produced valuable research metrics about highly active seniors while providing feedback to athletes to help them avoid future sport-related injuries.
A Sponsor for the Ages
Humana has been a major sponsor of the National Senior Games for more than 15 years and stands with NSGA to celebrate senior athletes who are demonstrating healthy, active lifestyles. “I am continuously impressed by this generation of seniors who aren’t just aging, they are living vibrant lives. As a champion of seniors, Humana has proudly served as the presenting sponsor of the National Senior Games since 2007 to cheer on these incredible athletes who embody a commitment to an active lifestyle,” said Bruce Broussard, Humana’s CEO. “The more than 11,500 athletes participating in this year’s Games are an inspiration to me, and I hope their stories inspire others to pursue activities that will positively impact their health and well-being.”
Additional partners include SilverSneakers, Arnicare, Jouvalle, Techness Pro, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Growing Bolder, Pennsylvania Lottery, Enterprise Rental Car, UPMC Sports Medicine, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, P3R and SportsPITTSBURGH.
People can follow the action through the Games Daily online news platform with news and links to the Photo Gallery, results and activities information. Find it at this link beginning July 7. For general information please visit NSGA.com.
The National Senior Games Association (NSGA) is a nonprofit Florida corporation that promotes health and well-being for adults 50 and over through education, fitness and sport. NSGA is an Affiliate Organization Council Member of the United States Olympic Paralympic Committee and governs the biennial National Senior Games, the largest qualified multi-sport event in the world. The Association is comprised of 52 independent Member Games that conduct qualifying competition events. The 2022 National Senior Games presented by Humana will be held July 7-18,2023 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For more information, please visit NSGA.com.
MEDIA INFORMATION/CREDENTIALS: Please visit the Press Room page at NSGA.com for contacts and information.