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.
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
Michael Brown, 67, Jacksonville, Florida At the age of 50, Michael Brown achieved something that athletes of any age yearn for – a record. The former Jacksonville, Florida high school teacher and track and field coach threw his javelin a whopping 226 feet at the 2004 Florida Senior Games, and then repeated the same distance
Mary Kaplan, 81, Sunrise Beach, Texas When we say runner Mary Kaplan sets goals as big as Texas, we mean it literally. Now 81, the retired Air Force nurse has not only run a race in all 50 states, she has also achieved the goal to run a 5K in every Texas county. All 254
Andy Leighton, 73, Arlington, Virginia Andy Leighton has learned over the years that you don’t give anything away to your opponents – you make them earn everything. For the past decade, that outlook has been put to test, as he now has a second opponent to face every day: Parkinson’s Disease. “After the diagnosis, I
Joy Upshaw, 60, Walnut Creek, California It’s great to win a gold medal, and special when you achieve a record for the best performance in your age and event. But it’s extraordinary when your record surpasses a legend and personal inspiration, as Joy Upshaw experienced in 2019. Even though she was at the top of
Joe Moyer, 72, Columbus, Ohio When Joe Moyer looked forward to his fourth straight trip to the National Senior Games, all he was thinking about was getting in shape to make a good time in the Triathlon event in Albuquerque. One year later, he would marvel that he even made it to New Mexico at
Carol Hicks, 75, Blountville, Tennessee Carol Hicks has had, by her own estimation, a blessed life. Now 75, the East Tennessee native has raised a family with her husband of 57 years and enjoyed her work career, including more than a decade with Junior Achievement before retiring a couple years ago. She has also been
Philipp Djang, 65, Las Cruces, New Mexico The pandemic has disrupted all sports, but perhaps none as much as swimming. Cross training is a part of preparing for competition, but when there’s no pool, swimmers are literally fish out of water. We called Philipp Djang, one of the most decorated swimmers in National Senior Games
Ellen Jaffe Jones, 67, Sarasota, Florida While only a fraction of senior athletes follow a vegan diet, there is a trend with more turning to this option. Traditional opinions by coaches and athletes say that you can’t perform as well athletically on a purely plant-based diet, but runner Ellen Jaffe Jones is out to disprove