The list of celebrities and notables who have joined us on our Personal Best tour stops include Olympians, a college football champion quarterback, a Grammy winner, a US Army general, the director of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, and a slew of local and state dignitaries and civic leaders. On this visit, we can add a World Series champion to the list. Detroit Tigers Hall of Fame legend Willie Horton was the keynote speaker at the Michigan Senior Olympics Celebration of Athletes dinner where NSGA honored 67-year-old racquetball player Sharon Huczek with a Class of 2015 Personal Best Award.
Huczek, a self made woman who paid her own way through college and had a distinguished 40 year career in public education and counseling in nearby Warren, has overcome many life challenges to succeed as a medal-winning athlete, mother and fitness advocate. Now retired, she still conducts pilates and cycling classes at her YMCA. Shown here congratulating Huczek (center) are Bonnie Brown of the North Oakland Family YMCA, NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker, MSO executive director Becky Ridky, and Willie Horton.
“This is more than just a recognition of athletic ability,” said NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker as he made the award presentation. “Sharon Huczek epitomizes NSGA’s new definition of personal best that goes beyond a moment of athletic achievement,” said NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker. “Sharon’s ongoing journey on and off the playing field to strive for fitness and health while also inspiring others to follow her lead made her an excellent selection.”
Huczek earned one gold and one silver medal for her racquetball singles and doubles play at the 2015 National Senior Games presented by Humana. Riker announced that she was among Michigan athletes who came home with a total of 109 medals, the sixth largest state result this year. “We are proud to have Sharon selected as a Personal Best athlete for our state,” Michigan Senior Olympics Director Becky Ridky noted. “She not only a great athlete, she encourages others to be fit and volunteers to help at our Games. She’s a role model for our community, and I hope her story helps motivate others to get involved.”
MSO also presented three new inductees to its Hall of Fame: Hilary George, an accomplished thrower who said he prefers to call his sport “Field and Track”; Marika Blumerick, a multi-sport athlete with an amazing life story that included losing her hearing in WWII bombings in her native Germany; and Jerry White, a diverse track and field/race walk athlete with an infectious positive spirit.
Riker and NSGA staffer Del Moon visited several MSO sports including 40K cycling, 5K road race, tennis, pickleball and disc golf. The lasting impression we left with was how engaged, excited and engaged everyone was with the event- athletes, volunteers, sponsors, and venue hosts. Kudos to Becky Ridky and her organization for producing model senior games for the Wolverine State!