HUMANA Heroes: December 2013 Athlete of the Month
Illinois Athlete Has the “Chi” of the Tiger
Dorothy Sinson of Chicago has embraced challenges for her entire life. “When I went to Oak Park High School in the 1940’s the prevailing belief was that the pressures and athleticism of competing would interfere with a girl’s reproductive capacities. Well, I went out for sports anyway and somehow managed to have kids. So much for that old theory!”
She let sports take a back seat while working and raising children. In retirement, she realized just being an avid fan of her grandchildren’s sports activities was not enough. “In 2009, I saw a tiny sign at my health club for an indoor triathlon and thought what the heck, I’ll give it a shot,” the feisty 82 year old recalls. “When I beat a 35 year old woman I raced home, turned on the computer and signed up for the Chicago Tri Super Sprint. When I came in 2nd, I was hooked!”
This year, she lined up three triathlons “just to see what I could do.” The 2013 National Senior Games Presented by Humana was the main goal and she captured a gold medal in Cleveland. But there was another unexpected self-discovery that emerged from her journey, and it had nothing to do with athletics. Dorothy had the heart of a competitor, but one month before The Games she discovered she also had a heart of rock and roll.
Dorothy was invited to join with other Illinois senior athletes at NSGA’s Personal Best event held June 19 at the Chicago Ritz Carlton Hotel. Featured was a mini-concert by Grammy Award winning artist Jim Peterik, a fellow Chicagoan who performed the iconic “Eye of the Tiger” and other hit songs he has written. “I did not think I would enjoy his show – Frank Sinatra is more my style,” she says. “It was not my kind of music before that day…but it is now!” She wrote NSGA to share her newfound appreciation, and her comment appeared on the Facebook pages for both Peterik and the National Senior Games. By coincidence, the triathlon route in Cleveland started and finished at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
There’s even one more stanza to this song. “At the Chicago Triathlon in August my right calf muscle was acting up and I was scared I wouldn’t finish. As I passed a young volunteer, she screamed at me ‘You can do it….Eye of the Tiger!’ It was all I needed and I finished, happy and sore. Mostly happy.
“I still break into a large smile every time I think about all of this,” she adds. “Indeed, old dogs can learn new tricks.”