LAS VEGAS, Nevada, October 4, 2015 – The National Senior Games Association (NSGA) honored 60-year-old tennis player and cancer survivor Brenda Talley and 64-year old elite badminton medalist Debbie Lorenzo with its Personal Best Award last night at the Nevada Senior Games Celebration of Athletes dinner held annually during the state competition.
NSGA has been presenting the award to a handful senior athletes around the country each year who epitomize the positive qualities of fitness, perseverance and inspiration for others to pursue their own personal best lifestyle. Breaking with its tradition of recognizing one athlete from a state resulted from an unusual circumstance. Talley, who is also the executive director for the Nevada Games, declined the honor at first because she felt there were other state athletes that deserved the recognition more. “Brenda’s board of directors and our staff all agreed that her story of overcoming dire personal obstacles and her heroic efforts that salvaged the state games that were in danger of being canceled in 2013 made for the most compelling story,” said NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker. “While our selection was not based on her current position, we decided that since we were coming to Las Vegas it was only appropriate to ‘double down’ and select a second athlete to profile.”
The National Senior Games is the world’s largest multisport event for seniors and is held every two years, with athletes qualifying at member state games like the Nevada Senior Games, now in its 35th year. The 2015 Games were held in Bloomington, Minneapolis and St. Paul and featured nearly 10,000 athletes 50 and over in 19 medal sport competitions. Nevada athletes came home with 35 medals.
“My goal to recover from ovarian cancer was to get healthy enough to qualify at state games to play tennis in the National Senior Games, which I was fortunate to finally do this summer.” Talley told the audience. “The Games helped save me, and they are important for so many others too.
Lorenzo, a Singapore native who served UNESCO internationally and came to Las Vegas to live with her mother after an emergency evacuation from the former Yugoslavia eliminated her position in 1995, told the audience, “Age is only a silly little number. You’ve heard this before, but it’s true: don’t just add years to your life, it’s about adding life to your years.”
Extended profiles for Talley, Lorenzo and many other athlete honorees can be found on the Personal Best page at www.NSGA.com. “This tour and recognition program is intended to send a message out to aging adults to ‘get in the game’ and enjoy an active, healthy lifestyle and the rewards it brings,” said Riker. “These athletes demonstrate that everyone can be their own personal best. The senior games movement offers fitness, fun and fellowship, but even if people don’t want to participate in sports we want to encourage everyone to get out and get active in some way.”