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.
De Shann Schinkel, 57, Rawlins, Wyoming Many senior athletes have used “midlife crisis” to create midlife opportunities by starting or returning to competitive sports. After dealing with the difficult loss of both parents in her early 50’s, De Shann Schinkel got back into the game and could not have dreamed where it would take her
Tim Jenkins, 70, Louisville, Kentucky Tim Jenkins is in awe about how his life has turned around since he found Senior Games in 2018. At the time he had been homeless after decades of misfortune. “I was really homeless for most of my life,” he says. “Just because a house has four walls and a
Louise Jones, 77, San Marino, California When Louise Jones found Senior Games basketball in 2010, she had already recently overcome a bout with breast cancer. She was looking forward, enjoying the active life traveling and competing with her Cougars Gold team through four National Senior Games. Then came the bad news. “I was disease free
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