Athlete of the Month
Each month, NSGA selects an interesting athlete to highlight from the vast diversity of people who participate in National Senior Games. These stories demonstrate the spirit of The Games and the benefits of fitness, fun and fellowship that athletes enjoy through their competitive efforts. Everyone has a story to share – what’s yours?
Click Here to submit your information, or nominate someone who inspires you!
Use the search box to find athletes by name or year of story.
Gary Bertelsen , 75, Westerville, OH Gary Bertelsen figures he has good sports genes. His brother Jim played football for the Texas Longhorns and for another five years in the NFL. He walked on the track team at the University of Wisconsin. When told he would be getting scholarship, he trained as hard as he
Kathy Bergen, 81, La Canada, California It’s hard to keep up with elite track and field star Kathy Bergen, whether it’s her competitors or the statisticians. She was the most decorated athlete at the National Senior Games in Albuquerque in 2019, chalking up three American and five National Senior Games records. After nine appearances, Kathy’s
Patrick Bohan, 57, Buena Vista, Colorado Some senior athletes have to adapt to medical conditions and disabilities to compete, and most will tell you their activity is helping to keep their situation under control. When someone facing extreme challenges performs well enough to earn medals, the accomplishments are even more impressive. “I should be needing
Juanita Gonzalez, 82, Los Angeles, California Juanita Gonzalez found a midlife love for running 28 years ago, awakening her competitive spirt and a goal to always win her age group. Since then, “Speedy G” has been rewarded with Gold Medals in 72 road races. Ironically, it was a 2nd place finish at the 2015 National
Brian Hankerson, 62, Hollywood, Florida It’s easy to assume that athletes just have a gift and that it’s not something you could go out and do, especially in midlife. Brian Hankerson no longer believes that and offers his story as proof. While he always knew he could jump and run, he never knew how good
Rick McKinney, 67, Gilbert, Arizona When Rick McKinney began with archery, he was told he should choose another sport. “I was all thumbs and clumsy,” he admits. “But man, there was nothing like it and a lot of fun!” It’s a good thing Rick pushed on or he wouldn’t have given us one of the
Brenda Frelsi, 62, Glendive, Montana When Brenda Frelsi tells you about hard knocks in her life, she means it literally. Until she was 45, the Wyoming native had enjoyed a relatively normal and active life. Winter sports is her passion, and one day she was skiing with her 8-year-old daughter Sarah and they decided to
Esther Lamptey, 58, Midwest City, Oklahoma There are many paths people take to find National Senior Games, but few can say they came from another continent. Esther Lamptey started playing table tennis, a very popular sport in Africa, while growing up in the country of Ghana. She was fortunate to train for a decade with
Richard Soller, 93, North Bend, Ohio Richard Soller feels like a weight has been lifted from his shoulders after chasing a dream goal for 32 years. We’ll make you wait and read on to fully appreciate his story and eventual reward. When Richard went out for track in high school, he suffered a torn hamstring
Shirley Radecki, 92, Eugene, Oregon Winning two swimming medals in The National Senior Games is a remarkable achievement, but no one was more surprised to win them than Shirley Radecki, who struck gold and silver in her first appearance last year at the age of 90. In a way it was very special, but it’s