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.
Leonid Sukher, 70, Brighton, Massachusetts Leonid Sukher has enjoyed table tennis since childhood. Growing up relatively poor with no access to equipment, he and friends made paddles out of scrap plywood to play. Little did he know as a youth that getting serious about his game would help regain his health later in life. Born
Madonna Hanna, 66 Tacoma, Washington The Boomer Widow and the Olympic Hopeful Life challenges can sometimes cause people to give up on goals and dreams, but Madonna Hanna was determined to not let that happen when her husband Steven passed away in late 2018. A widow’s search for a new track coach led to an
Bob Messersmith, 86, San Juan Capistrano, California “If you want to be old, you’re old.” Bob Messersmith has built a senior basketball dynasty. The teams he has organized and coached have won the California Senior Games championship 18 out of 20 years. His Team USA has dominated National Senior Games in five age categories over
Kathy Meares, 70, Baton Rouge, Louisiana Kneed for Speed Kathy Meares has never needed to be told to go out and play, and her youth was filled with sports. Growing up before Title IX, the Louisiana native did not have the opportunity to earn an athletic scholarship, but she avidly competed in intramural volleyball and
James Jackson, 53, Denton, Texas Smoking the Competition It’s rare for a runner to win best overall times in both the 5K and 10K road races in a National Senior Games. It’s only happened four times in our 32-year history, most recently in 2011. Now, James Jackson of Denton, Texas joins that elite group with
Alice Walker, 87, Chester, South Carolina Nothing Keeps Alice Down If you compare Alice Walker’s lifestyle and athletic accomplishments to her history of medical issues over eight decades, you would not believe she is the same person. A horrific accident left her with limited use of her left arm. Her kidney needed to be removed.
David Salazar, 69, Cedar Crest, New Mexico Performing a Lofty Role NSGA’s official highlights video from the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana sought to go beyond action clips and honor the athletes and the people of Albuquerque and New Mexico by selecting a local athlete to represent them in an unusual way. The
Bob Shannon, 66, Alameda, CA and Jeff Johanson, 65, Arnold, CA Renewing a “Rivalry” by Chance It’s not that unusual for senior athletes to know others from their youthful sporting days who also participate in National Senior Games. But it’s quite another thing to realize that the guy in the lane next to you is someone you used
Kory Kelly, 51, Ogden, Utah Pickleball Therapy Athletes go through struggles on and off the field, but few have faced adversity at a level similar to what Kory Kelly has been through. After serving in Afghanistan as a member of the Air Force and on special assignment to other government organizations, Kelly was diagnosed with
Debbie Klecan, 64, Edgewood, New Mexico Chama the Charmer Debbie Klecan is a multi-talented person – masters swimmer, photographer, illustrator, art teacher and expert dog trainer. Her best attribute, however, is how she has met extreme physical challenges brought on by a horrific car accident 18 years ago with a smile and more determination to