Damien Leake’s Love for Track is No Act
Growing up, we tend to sort ourselves into categories such as “I’m an athlete,” “I’m a scientist,” or “I’m a performer.” But rarely do we ever think that we can combine as many aspects into our life as we want. This was never a challenge for Damien Leake - a Hollywood actor, coach, accomplished track athlete, and more.
Damien competes in masters track sprint events and has competed several times at the National Senior Games. His first trip to The Games was in 2005 when Pittsburgh first hosted the event. Damien also coaches running and long jumping - as you can tell by his shirt that reads “Leake’s Leapers.”
Most impressively, Damien is an accomplished Hollywood actor who has had speaking roles in films with the likes of Denzel Washington, Richard Portier, and Gloria Foster. He’s also proud he acted on Broadway with Al Pacino. Damien is funny, charismatic, smart, and talented both on the stage and on the field.
Now 70, he is in his stride and holds the Men’s 70-74 American 100M record of 12:59. Yesterday at the track competition he ran 12:63, missing his own record by milliseconds. In the video interview with this story we discuss his athletic performance, why he loves Senior Games, his Hollywood life, his thoughts on current issues concerning the writers strike, and his own definition of artistry.
-By David Altman
Impactful Team Dream Documentary Sparks Lively Panel Discussion
Picture “Hidden Figures” meets “Rocky.”
That’s one way the subjects of “Team Dream” describe this documentary following two African-American swimmers as they train for and compete in the 2022 National Senior Games presented by Humana.
Pittsburgh residents and National Senior Games athletes were treated to an exclusive premiere of “Team Dream” and a panel discussion with the film’s stars, athletes Ann Smith and Madeline Murphy Rabb and their coach Derrick Milligan, on Wednesday evening at the Rowe House Cinema. This event was hosted by the National Senior Games Association, SportsPITTSBURGH, and Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh.
Good news: If you weren’t able to make the premiere, the film is available to watch on BET.com.
We won’t give too much away, but know that audiences will fall in love with Ann and Madeline’s warmth, determination, and humor.
After the premiere, Ann, Madeline, and Derrick participated in a panel discussion moderated by a representative from Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh and NSGA Director of Health & Well-Being Andrew Walker.
“Team Dream” has won numerous awards and continues to bring in accolades on the film festival circuit. The panelists noted that the film, despite its short length, includes many layers for audiences to unravel and connect with.
“Madeline and I did not get into this film to do something about social justice or about aging - we were just game, we were just having a good time...And then once we saw it and people began to talk about it, then we began to see you know this really is about social justice, this is about aging, this is about respect and admiration for older people,” shared Ann.
“So it’s really been a wonderful ride - or a wonderful swim,” she added with a chuckle.
SilverSneakers Energizes The Village
A bubbly voice joins the energetic beat that echoes across The Village, shouting, “Stomp right!” and other words of instruction and encouragement while numerous athletes shimmy and shuffle in front of the instructor. This live-streamed “Daily Dance Break” demonstration is one of the many fitness options SilverSneakers offers at no additional cost to adults over 65 through select Medicare plans.
SilverSneakers is a partner of the 2023 National Senior Games presented by Humana, and senior accounting executive Stacy Daniels says she hopes to increase athlete’s awareness of the benefits available to them through SilverSneakers.
“How can we help [the athletes] with their sport? Is there some type of yoga, or Tai Chi or flexibility and balance class that they can add into their athletic plan to help them stay physically fit for their sport?" Daniels says. "Especially with these being phenomenal athletes and so inspiring as individuals who are taking care of their health and well-being through athleticism.”
The program provides athletes with exercise classes designed for all fitness levels, both online and in-person, at 15,000+ locations nationwide. Members also have access to benefits such as outdoor walking groups and nutrition workshops. SilverSneakers aims to make a healthy lifestyle accessible to all older adults. “It allows them to stay connected with their peers as well as continue to stay physically active,” Daniels says.
Stop by their area in The Village to learn more about SilverSneakers.
- By Maya Valletta
It’s Aging Well Pittsburgh Partners Day at the Village!
The Village located in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center will celebrate local older adults and agencies that provide age friendly services throughout greater Pittsburgh today, July 13. Participating organizations include:
- Age Friendly Greater Pittsburgh
- Area Agency on Aging of Alleghany County
- Federal Trade Commission
- Merrill Lynch/Bank of America
- City of Pittsburgh Financial Empowerment
Take a leisurely stroll through the Village and learn more.