Personal Best: A Three Generation Legacy
The 2023 theme “Bridging Champions Through the Ages” came to mind because we have seen so many children reach 50 and eagerly join parents in the Senior Games Movement. With so many two generation athlete families, we wondered if there is a three-generation family coming to compete in Pittsburgh? There is!
Dwight Smith (94) is a longtime participant in Senior Games basketball. His son Terry (74) also plays roundball, but he is excited to play pickleball mixed doubles with his daughter Christi Daigle Smith (51). In this new Personal Best interview feature, the trio from Baton Rouge, Louisiana talk about the influence of “Paw Paw” Dwight on their lives and how sports can bring families together.
ABOUT THE NSGA
Last Chance! All 2023 Registration Ends May 2nd
It’s hard to believe, but time is flying by and registration for the 2023 National Senior Games presented by Humana will be closing May 2 at midnight.
Also remember that due to the pandemic disruption NSGA has again offered an “open entry parameter” registration option to accommodate athletes who wanted to qualify but were unable. Under this adjustment, anyone age 50+ as of December 31, 2022, is eligible to enter any of the 20 sports being offered in Pittsburgh. The open entry parameter ends with the close of all registration on May 2nd. The maximum number of registrants is limited for certain sports and capacity could be met at any point during the process. Complete information and online registration is available at NSGA.com/Registration.
2023 Games Quick Links:
- Registration Page
- 2023 Hotels and Lodging Page (You may win a Mediterranean Cruise when you book with us!)
- Competition Schedules
- Sports Pages
- Rule Book
Vendor & Sponsor Opportunities
Promote your brand, product or service to the nation’s top senior athletes! The NSGA offers a variety of vendor and sponsorship opportunities at the National Senior Games. For detailed information and pricing, please click the links below.
- Columbus Softball
Columbus, Pittsburgh Will Put the “Special” in Special Events
NSGA and our hosts always prepare a great welcome for our athletes, and the special events we have planned will not disappoint!
In Columbus, Ohio, the 2023 National Senior Games Softball Championship Athlete Celebration will be held Friday, May 5th and will take our athletes to Huntington Park, home of the Columbus Clippers, the Triple A affiliate of the Cleveland Guardians Major League baseball team. Attendees will receive details by email on the fun to come.
In Pittsburgh, the Flame Arrival Ceremony is set for Saturday, July 8th and will be held in a new rooftop terrace space at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. The view overlooking the Allegheny River downtown and the river will be spectacular as we welcome the torch to officially start The Games!
Also, you will want to save the date for the Celebration of Athletes on Friday, July 14th. We’re excited to announce that we will be hosted by the Pittsburgh Pirates at the iconic PNC Park, with on field recognition and the Parade of Athletes happening prior to the game. Then throughout the game, the NSGA athletes will be ‘randomly’ chosen to participate in the mid-inning entertainment. Athletes will be admitted free and will have reserved lower level seats. Friends and family tickets in our sections will be $15 (regular price range from $32 – $51 per ticket before fees). Watch for more details on our Pittsburgh special events!
Venue Spotlight: Road Races
National Senior Games Road Races are always colorful and exciting to be in…and to watch! For 2023 we have a visually attractive run in the parks! Visit the Road Race Sport Page for details.
5K RR – Schenley Park (starting at Flagstaff Hill)
Schenley Park is a large municipal park in downtown Pittsburgh located between the neighborhoods of Oakland, Greenfield and Squirrel Hill. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district. The 300 acres of park was donated by Mary Schenely in 1889 and borders the campuses of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.
10K RR – North Park (starting at the North Park Boathouse)
North Park is a 3,075-acre county park in the greater Pittsburgh area that is the largest in Allegheny County. Completed in 1931, North Park features the largest man-made body of water in the county, over 75 acres, bordered by four miles of woodlands. The park also offers a golf course, large ice skating rink, swimming pool, movie theater, picnic groves, tennis courts, basketball courts, kayak rentals, a treetop obstacle course with zipline, and several miles of trails for walking, hiking, bike riding, and mountain biking–including trails for the visually impaired, known as the “Braille Trail.”
Fun For All Ages Awaits in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh is especially family friendly thanks to the many unique, affordable Only in Pittsburgh attractions and activities for all ages, from riding thrilling coasters to discovering exotic birds, walking among the dinosaurs and much more. With an experience fit for every member of the family, Pittsburgh is bursting with history, science, entertainment and adventure just waiting to be discovered.
This summer, both Kennywood and the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium celebrate 125 years of family-friendly fun!
Minutes from Downtown, Kennywood is one of Pittsburgh’s best-loved historic landmarks, with three wooden roller coasters, Pennsylvania’s fastest (Phantom’s Revenge) and tallest (Steel Curtain) coasters, and dozens of other great attractions for all ages. Plus, in celebration of the milestone anniversary, Kennywood will launch Spinvasion, the first multi-action spin ride of its kind in the U.S., in addition to new unique food, entertaining games and engaging special events throughout the year!
Other longstanding family-friendly attractions to check out while you’re in town include the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History, the Heinz History Center, the National Aviary and more.
There are also numerous new attractions for the whole family to enjoy. The Moonshot Museum is Pennsylvania’s first space museum and the first museum in the world to focus on career and community readiness for the 21st century space industry. Via a unique partnership with Pittsburgh space robotics company Astrobotic, Moonshot Museum pulls back the curtain on the contemporary space industry, offering the unparalleled opportunity to see real spacecraft be built through a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows – an experience unlike any other in the world. Visitors will embark on simulated lunar missions inspired by real space industry challenges, meet space professionals and find their place in the future of human space exploration from Mission Control in Pittsburgh’s Northside.
The Carnegie Science Center also has a new 7,400 square foot permanent exhibit, titled Mars: The Next Giant Leap, which launches visitors on a 300-million-mile journey to Mars, where they will explore relevant, contemporary issues that surround space exploration. It’s the most expansive new experience added since the Science Center opened in 1991.
If your family prefers outdoor , there are also plenty of fun activities, from hiking and biking to kayaking, paddleboarding and boating, that can be enjoyed throughout the city. See how many of the more than 700 outdoor stairways and 446 walkable bridges within Pittsburgh’s limits you can tackle during your stay.
Lastly, don’t forget to take a ride on one of our famous inclines! Enjoy a spectacular panorama of Pittsburgh and its three rivers from the observation deck and check out the historical exhibits in the waiting rooms for entertainment between rides.
Learn more at VisitPITTSBURGH.com.
APRIL ATHLETE OF THE MONTH
Dr. Leopoldo Gracia Vilches, 64
Navajoa, Sonora Mexico
This Doctor Delivers Babies- And Records
By Del Moon
Power Walk has been around for a long time as a fitness exercise but is new as a medal sport, having been introduced nationally at the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana. In the second gathering in Fort Lauderdale in 2022, it was therefore hard to know just how good “good” is for finish times in the budding sport.
Until the Doctor made his rounds.
Leopoldo Gracia Vilches etched his name deep into the NSGA record books with his Gold Medal performances in Fort Lauderdale. It was impressive enough that he easily won his 60-64 division 1500-meter and 5K races, but jaw-dropping when it was clear that the Mexican pacesetter had clocked the best overall times for all ages in both of the races (8:40 in the 1500, 31:36 in the 5K).
It was also the fastest time in NSGA’s Power Walk history to date. By more than a minute in both races. That’s enough to shout ¡Ándele!
“I was not surprised that I could win my own races,” he told us with translating assistance from his daughter Marina. “I knew my times and the times of my peers. So I got there very positive I would get a good result. But to be the best for all age categories impressed me and made me very proud for myself.”
Leopoldo started playing soccer and baseball in Mexico when he was 8 years old, then played basketball for exercise. He became a gynecologist and has had his practice for nearly 40 years in the state of Sonora about six hours south of the Arizona border. “I’ve delivered more than 1,000 babies and performed many ‘C sections’,” he proudly states.
Feeling the need to up his exercise game, Leopoldo found a new track to follow. “I discovered track and field at 42 and fell in love with it,” he recalls. He loved sprints and started competing in races in Mexico, and became an international competitor in 2014 entering the Arizona Senior Olympics in 2014 and competing in his first National Senior Games in 2015. Leopoldo showed flashes of potential winning medals in his 400-meter events, but then sustained an injury that sidelined him in 2018.
His focus changed – same track, different approach. “While I was healing I started to research race walk and power walk, and it was what I needed to continue. Sports for me is not only a hobby. I enjoy practicing and playing.”
Leopoldo knows that he is a role model for his community to follow. “I incorporate a health message by telling others that sports go hand in hand with a healthy lifestyle. I try to motivate all of my patients to move their bodies, focusing on physical activity to preserve health. The foundation of what I tell them is to have regular physical activity, a healthy diet, avoid any type of addiction whether it’s drugs, alcohol or tobacco, and to keep a healthy weight, which varies from person to person.”
It can be daunting traveling to another country where you don’t know anyone and don’t speak the language well. But Leopoldo has found a nurturing community at state and national Senior Games. “I’ve been amazed at the fraternity that my peers have shown not only to me, but to others,” he observes. “I get by and I’m trying to speak English whenever I can. The main challenge for me is to not worry about the language challenge and to focus on not getting injured.”
He paused and added, “I’m really honored to compete with and against these people.”
What’s YOUR story? To nominate a fellow athlete…CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A STORY
SENIOR HEALTH & WELL-BEING
Last Chance to Play, Walk or Run – Train Well!
By Andrew Walker, MPH; Director of Health & Well-Being
The last window of opportunity to participate in the 2023 National Senior Games presented by Humana ends when registration closes on May 2. This year, as in 2022, NSGA has offered an Open Entry Parameter due to the interruption of COVID-19 on State Games hosting qualifying events. In addition to accommodating athletes who did not have a chance to qualify, new athletes who only recently learned about the Games can also participate.
Many of the newcomers will be highly skilled, fit adults who are prepared to compete. If you are one of those people, you have time to maximize sport performance by emphasizing resistance/strength training, cardiovascular training, recovery training and movement/agility training, see last’s month health and well-being article.
For those individuals who are not highly conditioned and skilled at a sport, but who are highly motivated, your best chance to experience the thrill of victory is to try a more accessible sport. A 1500M or 5K Power Walk are good gateway activities into The Games. You can reasonably expect to train for walking with only three months to prepare. You will need to pay close attention to the key aspects of the art and science of older adult sports performance covered in last month’s health and well-being newsletter article.
Paying attention to how your body is responding to your workouts is especially important so you can gradually and safely train. It’s paramount that you participate in resistance/strength training consisting of at least 2 full body workouts per week for 30 to 60 minutes.
Click here to build your weekly activity plan from the Move Your Way resource center.
For the first two months build a solid fitness foundation. During the last month prior to The Games, consider including high intensity interval training (HIIT), a highly efficient conditioning training method. A detailed HITT program can be found at this link. Alter either the time interval or increase the intensity so you minimize the potential for injuries. And as mentioned previously, it’s especially important that older adult athletes plan enough time for recovery between workouts.
Mindfully applying these key training principles will create your best performance at the 2023 National Senior Games. In the process, you should notice a boost in mood, decreased stress, and improved sleep.
NSGA is pleased to announce a new partnership with Arnicare, a plant-powered topical pain reliever. Arnicare topicals help relieve muscle pain, stiffness and swelling from injuries, and bruises. Under the terms of the agreement, Arnicare will sponsor National Senior Games events in Columbus and Pittsburgh.
This #1 homeopathic Arnicare brand offers many benefits to active seniors. It comes in a gel, cream, and ointment, as well as oral tablets and an arthritis pain formula.
Benefits and Features:
- The single active ingredient is Arnica montana, a mountain daisy known for centuries for its pain-relieving properties
- Non-greasy topical formulas with no traditional strong medicine smell
- Free of fragrances, dyes, and parabens
- Won’t mask symptoms of a more serious condition
Arnicare samples will be provided to all participating athletes in Columbus and Pittsburgh as part of a special welcome gift. Additionally, Arnicare will be exhibiting in the Athletes Village in Pittsburgh.
To learn more about Arnicare and to find a retailer near you, visit Arnicare.com.
NSG OFFICIAL APPAREL
2023 National Senior Games Merchandise Available Online!
2023 National Senior Games merchandise is available from the NSGA Online Store. You can also check out 2023 Softball Championship apparel and limited items from the 2022 Games!
NSGA OFFICIAL PARTNERS
HEALTH & WELL-BEING PARTNERS
NSG SPORT PARTNERS