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?
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Use the search box to find athletes by name or year of story.
September 2023 Athlete of the Month By Del Moon, NSGA PR Specialist James Lewis, 68 Harvey, Illinois No one loves basketball more than James Lewis, and it has been a constant presence in his life. One testimonial to this is his induction into the Masters Basketball Association Hall of Fame. Yet, as deep as his
Bob Knight, 79 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Bob Knight has a lot of resilience and a sense of humor that will ease any situation. Ask him if he has bowled and played softball all of his life and he quickly replies, “Not yet!” The Pittsburgh area native has needed both of those qualities to overcome the many
Keryl Rustin, 74 Kearneysville, West Virginia You won’t find a more determined person than Keryl (pronounced “Curl”) Rustin. She adapted to being born visually impaired, finished school, raised three children and had a satisfying working career at a VA hospital in West Virginia. Then, at the age of 52 a rare neurological condition gradually took
Dr. Leopoldo Gracia Vilches, 64, Navojoa, Sonora Mexico Power Walk has been around for a long time as a fitness exercise but is new as a medal sport, having been introduced nationally at the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana. In the second gathering in Fort Lauderdale in 2022, it was therefore hard to know
Paula Franetti, 67 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania To see Paula Franetti mixing it up in women’s basketball competition at the National Senior Games last year, we marveled that the Pittsburgh native had worked her way back to a fully active life after a horrific car crash. In September 2016 Paula was driving to her Pittsburgh office when
Chuck DiMeglio, 62 McLean, Virginia Chuck DiMeglio admits he’s a detail-oriented guy who is driven by challenges. Like keeping records of his lifetime swims and achieving the goal of “swimming around the world” in 2022 at age 62. If you’re counting, that’s 1.75 million pool lengths to get around the globe. And Chuck loves to
Gene Berg, 70 Margaret Berg, 61 Litchfield, New Hampshire Many senior athletes travel to multiple events each year to enjoy the competition and camaraderie. Noticing a shiny Airstream travel trailer with New Hampshire plates glinting in the sun at the 2022 Georgia Golden Olympics reminded us that some go the RV route and travel in
Gary Patton, 77 Rock Rapids, Iowa Gary Patton never dreamed he would one day be an elite athlete. “I was 4 foot 11 in high school and underdeveloped. I was not athlete material at all.” Now 5’4” at the age of 76, Gary has become a tall figure in mid distance running, finding himself on
Charlotte Sanddal, 100, Helena, Montana When she first jumped into a pool to learn to swim at the age of 72, Charlotte Sanddal was only thinking about finding a way to stay healthy and active. Then when she began competing in the Montana Senior Olympics in 1994, she earned her first medal and was hooked
Doug Dvorak, 62, Donelly, Idaho Doug Dvorak loves playing pickleball, and his passion for the game comes from a series of life challenges he says he overcame by taking up the popular sport. Speaking from a hotel room in Philadelphia, Doug demonstrates his obsession. “Guess what I have with me?” he asks. “My pickleball paddle! I