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History of the NSGA

In 1985 in St. Louis, MO, a group of seven men and women formed the original leadership for what was initially known as the National Senior Olympics Organization (NSOO). The vision: to promote healthy lifestyles for adults through education, fitness and sport.

In the fall of 1985 they hosted a meeting of individuals who were currently conducting games for seniors in their 33 states. That group planned the first National Senior Olympic Games, held in 1987 in St. Louis. The games were a great success with 2,500 competitors. The NSOO was formalized during the games with a Board of Directors elected, articles of incorporation filed in the State of Missouri and by-laws adopted. Over 100,000 spectators viewed the first Games ceremonies featuring Bob Hope at the St. Louis Riverfront Arch.

The second National Games also took place in St. Louis in 1989, hosting 3,500 seniors and were covered by the New York Times, ESPN and Good Morning America.

In 1990 an agreement was reached with the United States Olympic Committee based on their objection to the use of the term Olympic in the organization’s corporate name and the name was changed to the U.S. National Senior Sports Organization, and the organization began working under the name National Senior Games Association. The organization continued to name its signature event the National Senior Games - The Senior Olympics.

The NSGA exists today as a non-profit organization dedicated to motivating active adults to lead a healthy lifestyle through the senior games movement.

The Games, a 20-sport, biennial competition for men and women 50 and over, is the largest multi-sport event in the world for seniors.

NSGA Member Organizations hold annual games with qualifying competitions in the year preceding The Games. Athletes that meet specific criteria while participating in the State Senior Games qualify to participate. To date, the NSGA has held 16 summer national championships. The cities and the approximate number of athletes are noted below.

Year Host City # of Sports # of Athletes
1987 St. Louis, MO 15 2,500
1989 St. Louis, MO 16 3,400
1991 Syracuse, NY 18 5,000
1993 Baton Rouge, LA 18 7,200
1995 San Antonio, TX 18 8,200
1997 Tucson, AZ 18 10,300
1999 Orlando, FL 18 12,000
2001 Baton Rouge, LA 18 8,700*
2003 Hampton Roads, VA 18 10,700
2005 Pittsburgh, PA 18 11,000
2007 Louisville, KY 18 12,000
2009 Palo Alto, CA 18 10,000
2011 Houston, TX 18 10,100
2013 Cleveland, OH 19 10,881
2015 Bloomington/Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN 19 9,989
2017 Birmingham, AL 19 10,530
2019 Albuquerque, NM 20 13,882
2021 Ft. Lauderdale, FL TBD TBD
  *Reflects more stringent qualifying standards

 

07 December 2019
Athlete of the Month
Bob Messersmith, 86, San Juan Capistrano, California Bob Messersmith has built a senior basketball dynasty. The teams he has organized and c...
05 November 2019
Athlete of the Month
Kathy Meares, 72, Baton Rouge, Louisiana Kathy Meares has never needed to be told to go out and play, and her youth was filled with sports. ...
07 October 2019
Athlete of the Month
James Jackson, 53, Denton, Texas It’s rare for a runner to win best overall times in both the 5K and 10K road races in a National Senior Gam...
01 October 2019
News and Events
The National Senior Games Association (NSGA) was honored to be presented the 22 nd Sterling Friendship Award at a gala event held on Septemb...