Breaking: 2021 National Senior Games Postponed to 2022
The 2021 National Senior Games presented by Humana has been postponed to 2022.
Due to the disruptions caused by the pandemic, and out of an abundance of caution, NSGA has made the decision to postpone the National Senior Games to May 10-23, 2022. “In consultations with our host region and with our association Members and athletes, it became clear that having several more months of economic recovery and time for the pandemic to subside made postponement the obvious decision for all,” NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker said.
Adjustments to the qualification and registration process that NSGA adopted in response to the pandemic remain in place for The Games in May of 2022. Click Here for the qualification and registration adjustments. In addition, NSGA has extended the qualifying period through December 31, 2021. Athletes who meet the sport/event qualification standards at a qualifying state senior games in 2021 will qualify for the National Senior Games in May of 2022.
Qualified athletes will be eligible to register for their sport/event during the Priority Registration Period. The number of registrants may be limited for certain sports during the Priority Registration Period. Athletes age 50+ by December 31, 2021, who are unable to qualify may register for sports/events during the Open Registration Period provided that the sport/event has not reached registration capacity.
NSGA supports our Member Organizations (qualifying State Senior Games) in their decisions regarding the conduct of sports/events in 2021. COVID continues to impact each state differently so the ability to stage events this year may vary by state or region. The state qualifying senior games are independently managed and directly communicating with athletes about the status of their events in 2021. NSGA encourages you to directly contact the senior games office(s) in any location(s) where you plan to participate in 2021. A directory of the state qualifying senior games with contact information is available at NSGA.com under the STATE GAMES tab.
Our staff is working diligently with local organizers in Greater Fort Lauderdale to finalize venues, general competition schedules and housing options. Registration for the National Games is expected to open in late summer of 2021, with exact dates for each registration period to be announced on NSGA.com and in our monthly e-newsletter The Long Run. Qualified athletes will also receive qualification emails with registration details after information is fully confirmed.
NSGA’s guiding principle is to act in the best interests of our athletes, State Senior Games, partners and staff. By postponing the Games to 2022, our hope is that COVID fears will be greatly reduced and more athletes will be comfortable with travel, training and participation.
January Athlete of the Month
The Long Road to Glory
Richard Soller, 93, North Bend, Ohio
Richard Soller feels like a weight has been lifted from his shoulders after chasing a dream goal for 32 years. We’ll make you wait and read on to fully appreciate his story and eventual reward.
When Richard went out for track in high school, he suffered a torn hamstring and never ran again until he was 50. “When the running craze was coming on, my wife Jean and I were heavy smokers and had young children, so we decided to try to get healthy and do what we should be doing,” he recalls. “That’s what prompted us to get into the running business.”
Luckily for Richard, Cincinnati was already conducting local Senior Olympics in the early 80’s before the National Senior Games were formed, and he enjoyed participating in track and field and road races with others of his own age. When Nationals came along in 1987, he eagerly registered for the inaugural Games in St. Louis. Then came the irony of ironies – Richard sustained another hamstring injury shortly beforehand and had to scratch.
That might be a bad omen for some, but it lit a fire under Richard – he has gone on to compete in every National Senior Games since then, an impressive string of 15 in all. His overall masters history includes earning gold medals in many regional and state Senior Games and in USATF Masters National Championship age division events. He’s traveled to Canada, Mexico, Barbados and Australia to compete. High points were earning a medal in the World Master Games in Australia and being the oldest finisher at age 85 in the 2012 Chicago Marathon.
However, one huge goal eluded Richard through the years – to win a National Senior Games Gold Medal. Then, finally, in Albuquerque, he beat out his friendly nemesis Joe Barger of Texas to win the M90-94 5K Road Race at the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana. His 47:24 time was good enough to rank 5th in his division in NSGA history. (Joe stands in the #2 and #3 slots after besting Richard in previous Games.) “That was a top thing, maybe the high point of my career,” he muses.
“I’ve always considered myself a mid-packer, but at my age now there’s not much competition,” he continues. “I’ve always had a positive attitude and I love going to The Games for the competition and to see and meet people. I’ve made many good friends over the years.” He adds that the real goal since toeing the line has been to work hard and enjoy the benefits of good health as he ages.
Another source of pride is that his daughter has followed his example and became a runner. “I motivated her. We did a lot of running together when she was young, and she actually became a personal trainer for several years.”
There have been other challenges and injuries along the way in Richard’s journey, all of which he says he’s handled with grit, determination, self-motivation and especially perseverance. His advice to others is simple: “Don’t expect to win every time. Keep at it, and in the long run, you might come up with your dream right at the end.”
Good advice, Richard, but we don’t think you are anywhere near the end of your running career. Go get another Gold Medal in Greater Fort Lauderdale!
We’d like to hear about you or an interesting athlete you admire-it just might be selected for a story! To submit yours, or to nominate another, Please Click Here.
Senior Health and Wellness
Don’t Forget Your Annual Flu Shot – It’s More Important Than Ever!
An article in last month’s newsletter by our partner Humana asked us to continue to observe social distancing but not to practice medical distancing, denying ourselves needed vaccinations, screenings and chronic disease management. Because of COVID-19 it is more important than ever for us to maintain healthcare engagement, including rolling up our sleeves for vaccines like flu shots. This allows us to make a positive contribution to the common good by lessening the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wearing a mask, and washing hands often, and getting a flu vaccine are simple actions that everyone can take, especially those at higher risk of developing serious flu complications.
Moreover, it is important that we collectively contribute to reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses, thereby helping with reserving medical resources needed to care for people with COVID-19. The flu shot is free for Medicare participants. Many health plans also cover shots. I paid nothing out of pocket for the flu shot I received at Walgreen’s last week.
With winter flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 spreading, there is still time to receive a flu shot. Each year as long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue throughout flu season. The flu season typically runs from October through April and flu activity usually peaks in January or February in the United States. According to Dr. Erin Kennedy, a researcher with CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, it is never too late to be vaccinated and the vaccine can still protect you against the flu, as long as flu viruses are circulating. Surveillance findings in recent U.S. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) show a low level of flu for the U.S. Let’s keep this number low!
Flu vaccinations have many benefits. They have been shown to reduce flu illnesses and to reduce the risk of more serious flu outcomes that can result in hospitalization or even death in older people. Flu vaccination reduce severity of illness in people who are vaccinated but still get sick.
CDC has worked with vaccine manufacturers to have extra flu vaccine available and a record number of flu vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S. Use the VaccineFinderexternal icon to find out where to be vaccinated near you.
We commend those of you who have an annual routine of starting the New Year with planned doctor visits, preventive health screening and vaccinations. I encourage each one of you to go in and roll up your sleeve!
Andrew Walker, MPH
NSGA Health and Wellness Director
Happy Birthday, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Born January 15, 1929
NSGA Health & Wellness Partners