History of the NSGA
In 1985 in St. Louis, MO, a group of seven men and women formed the original leadership for what was initially known as the US National Senior Sports Organization (aka USNSO). The vision: to promote healthy lifestyles for adults through education, fitness and sport.
In the fall of 1985, they hosted a meeting of individuals who were currently conducting games for seniors in their 33 states. That group planned the first National Senior Olympic Games, held in 1987 in St. Louis. The games were a great success with 2,500 competitors. The USNSO was incorporated in 1987 with a Board of Directors elected, articles of incorporation filed in the State of Missouri and by-laws adopted. Over 100,000 spectators viewed the first Games ceremonies featuring Bob Hope at the St. Louis Riverfront Arch.
The second National Games also took place in St. Louis in 1989, hosting 3,500 seniors and were covered by the New York Times, ESPN and Good Morning America.
In 1990 an agreement was reached with the United States Olympic Committee based on their objection to the use of the term Olympic by USNSO, and the “dba” name was changed to the National Senior Games Association. For approximately 10 years thereafter, NSGA was allowed to call its signature event “National Senior Games – The Senior Olympics.”
The NSGA exists today as a non-profit organization dedicated to motivating active adults to lead a healthy lifestyle through the senior games movement.
The Games, a 20+ sport, biennial competition for men and women 50 and over, is the largest multi-sport event in the world for seniors.
NSGA Member Organizations hold annual games with qualifying competitions in the year preceding The Games. Athletes that meet specific criteria while participating in the State Senior Games qualify to participate. To date, the NSGA has held 19 summer national championships. The cities and the approximate number of athletes are noted below.
|Year||Host City||# of Sports||# of Athletes|
|1987||St. Louis, MO||15||2,500|
|1989||St. Louis, MO||16||3,400|
|1993||Baton Rouge, LA||18||7,200|
|1995||San Antonio, TX||18||8,200|
|2001||Baton Rouge, LA||18||8,700*|
|2003||Hampton Roads, VA||18||10,700|
|2009||Palo Alto, CA||18||10,000|
|2015||Bloomington/Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN||19||9,989|
|2022||Fort Lauderdale, FL||21||12,065|
|2023||Pittsburgh, PA/Columbus, OH||21||11,681|
|2025||Des Moines, IA||TBD||TBD|
|*Reflects more stringent qualifying standards|