On June 13, Albuquerque celebrated it upcoming hosting of the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana with a One Year Out Celebration on their downtown Civic Plaza. Mayor Tim Keller and several speakers shared their pride and excitement, followed by music, dance, sport exhibitions and an intergenerational walk around City Hall and the plaza.
More than 800 people came to the plaza during the six hour celebration. The entire staff from the National Senior Games Association’s headquarters in Clearwater, Florida also attended and participated in numerous planning meetings during their stay.
“The 2019 National Senior Games will showcase the unique and diverse culture of our city, and will demonstrate the belief we are ‘One Albuquerque’,” Keller stated, referring to the current city motto. “In this case, it means that everyone, from seniors to young people, will come together to host this huge athletic event.”
NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker echoed the mayor in his remarks, recalling “When we came out for our site visit it was immediately evident there was one community that would pull together to make phenomenal gains and create an awesome experience for our athletes and visitors.”
Humana, the presenting sponsor for National Senior Games since 2007, was well represented with remarks from Mark Iorio, Central West Region Medicare President, who espoused Humana’s focus on well being demonstrated by their corporate support of The Games.
New Mexico Senior Olympics is celebrating its 40th anniversary and brought many volunteers and door prizes. More than one speaker credited their strong presence in the state as a big factor in attracting The Games to Albuquerque.
Shuffleboard, basketball, and pickleball demonstrations by senior athletes were held to highlight as sport action people can expect from The Games in 2019. Mayor Keller, a former high school star quarterback, had not played pickle ball before but was game for a game, showed his natural athletic ability and surprised many as he picked up the basics very quickly. Watch video clip here.
Keller also spoke to television news cameras and provided comments to the Albuquerque Journal at the event, lauding the economic boost and civic pride of “One Albuquerque” that will result in a tremendous welcome for athletes and visitors. Read the Journal story here. You can also watch television news story coverage by KOB TV 4 here.
High noon did not keep more than 200 people of all ages from participating in an intergenerational fitness walk around the plaza under the theme of Olympic Day, which is celebrated annually with events around the country during the month of June. Youth groups from nearby summer programs joined with seniors in the walk that circumnavigated City Hall and the plaza.
The energy and enthusiasm of the senior athletes from New Mexico was on full display, from opening stretching exercise to music, sports activity, and dancing to musical entertainment. This video clip featuring the North Domingo Baca Intergenerational Center line dancers and attendees stepping out with the Round About Band is a great example.
“We are pleased with the commitment of the local organizing committee and New Mexico Senior Olympics for staging this great awareness-building event,” Riker commented. “We have no doubt Albuquerque will put its best foot forward when they host The Games in one year.”