Rocky Mountain Personal Best
The 2016 Personal Best initiative took to the road with a presentation to 60-year-old Colorado athlete Tom McAdam at the kickoff event for the Rocky Mountain Senior Games (RMSG) held in Greeley on June 10.
As you will read in Tom McAdam’s Personal Best profile linked here, Tom earned gold and silverswimming medals at the 2015 National Senior Games presented by Humana, but winning events is not the focus of his Personal Best story.
After introductions by RMSG President (and NSGA Board Vice Chair) Kate Amack, CEO Marc T. Riker told assembled athletes and spectators how Tom McAdam got involved in Senior Games as a way to honor his 95-year-old father Bob McAdam, a retired fitness educator and National Masters Racquetball Association International Hall of Fame honoree. “Tom encouraged other family members to join in, and his brother Brian in Minnesota did,” Riker explained. “Brian was able to reverse weight gain and the side effects from neck and back operations as a result of his participation. Then Brian’s children were inspired and are now competitive swimmers. You never know how your actions will positively impact others.”
Following the presentation and athletes’ oath to open the 39th annual Rocky Mountain Senior Games, McAdam lit the cauldron and led athletes on the torch march. Visit our “National Senior Games” Facebook page to see photos of the event and of other athletes we met during sports action there. Don’t forget to Like what you see!
2017 Venue Snapshot: BJCC Will Be Hub of The Games
The Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center will be a destination for every athlete coming to compete next June. This will be the epicenter of activity with Athlete Check-In and the Village Expo area with displays and activities, including some special 30th Anniversary displays.
The National Senior Games will occupy all 220,000 square feet of exhibit hall space. At this time, sports that will be at the BJCC include Badminton, Basketball, Pickleball, Shuffleboard, Table Tennis and Judo (demonstration sport).
Athletes will enjoy finding so many activities so close together. The downtown center, only minutes from the airport, is connected to the Sheraton Birmingham headquarters hotel and the Legacy Arena, which adjoins the exhibition hall building, will be the location for our Celebration of Athletes on Friday, June 9. Time to get qualified, because you won’t want to miss these 30th anniversary Games!
Birmingham Named Among “Great Destinations”
The Travel Channel has chosen its ” Next 11 Great Destinations,” and Birmingham is the only U.S. city on the list. The respected cable channel points to the city’s craft breweries and culinary distinctions, calling out places such as Good People Brewing and James Beard Foundation favorite Highlands Bar and Grill.
Also mentioned is the opening of the newly restored Lyric Theatre, just across the street from the historic and palatial Alabama Theatre. The piece also featured Rickwood Field, which is America’s oldest ballpark, and one of the newest, Regions Field, opened in 2013. Among the other destinations recommended for travel in 2016 were Bolivia, Poland, The Philippines, Estonia, Cuba and Coastal Cambodia.
Qualifying Calendar: Oklahoma Games Return
The big news for our association this month is that the Oklahoma Senior Games are active again after a hiatus. Events in Oklahoma City and Tulsa are scheduled for September and October. Welcome back!
The qualifying calendar stays busy in July with games kicking off in Illinois, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Washington, and the Veterans’ Golden Age Games. Continuing events are in Maine, Maryland, Vermont and Canada. August will see new action in Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Many state games’ schedules extend over two or more weeks, so check the specifics for the sport(s) you are interested in. Follow the link below to find dates and contact information.
HUMANA Heroes: Athlete of the Month
Like Father, Like Daughter
Dr. Jane Katz has made a lot of waves in her field. She earned her doctorate degree in gerontology and geriatrics from Columbia University and is nationally recognized as an educator, aquatics innovator and author of 14 books on swimming, fitness, and water exercise. She has taught water fitness to thousands at the City University of New York since 1964, and at John Jay College since 1989, where her students include New York City policemen and firefighters.
Jane’s athletic achievements began with the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo as a member of the synchronized swimming performance team. Her career as a masters competitive, long-distance, synchronized and fin swimmer has earned All-American and World Masters championships. Her name appears in eight places in National Senior Games Top Ten Performance swim records, and she garnered five gold and one silver medal at the 2015 National Senior Games presented by Humana.
In 2014, Jane received a Lifetime Achievement Award from thePresident’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. And this fall, she will be inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
As impressive as her resume is, the reason why she has devoted her career to aquatics is equally noteworthy. “When my dad was a teenager he nearly drowned. He was saved by a stranger who happened to be an elite Canadian swimmer,” Jane explains. “He taught my dad how to swim, and he thought it was a gift of life.”
Leon Katz was an engineer by profession, but he also became an elite swimmer through high school and college and made swimming a lifetime avocation. He brought his entire family into the pool and then taught and coached swimming for the next 50 years on New York’s Lower East Side, first at the YMCA and then with a neighborhood association.
“Coach Katz taught everybody to swim. Seven decades later, people still tell me their parents were taught by my dad,” she says. “He passed his love for swimming on to our whole family, and to me in particular. He’s the reason why I do this.”
At one point, a 1979 car accident almost ended her competitive career, and there have been other challenges, but she says her father’s inspiration always pulled her through. “We all have our vicissitudes of life,” she says. “I’ve had four major losses in the past 15 years, including his passing last year. That accident left me feeling vulnerable, and I thought I would never swim again. But every time my determination got me back in the pool.”
Jane considers her entire aquatics career to be an act of paying forward by teaching the benefits of aquatics. Last year, she introduced a new program called WETS for Vets (Water Exercise Techniques for Veterans) that was also inspired by her dad’s history as a veteran. “It offers holistic water exercise techniques for rehabilitating the mind, body and spirit of military veterans re-entering civilian life,” she explains. “It’s fantastic therapy to get these men and women in the pool. Water is always great for healing.”
The National Senior Games holds a special place in Jane’s heart. “Masters swim meets are great, but there’s more Type A people who are focused on the win. There’s much more camaraderie in the Senior Games, and that makes it more fun. It’s the best of both worlds, and it doesn’t get better than that.”
Senior Health and Wellness
Personal Best Updates: Vivian’s Memorial Swim; Honors for Jane, Jerry and Ruby
Vivian Stancil never ceases to amaze and inspire, and not just because she is blind. Since we published her 2014 Personal Best athlete profile, Vivian has grown her own foundation to provide dozens of scholarships to teach swimming to disadvantaged youth and for seniors in her community. And she has been appointed chair of the Commission on People with Disabilities for the City of Riverside.
Last week, Vivian fulfilled an emotional promise to honor Cynthia Rosedale, who was coordinator of the Pasadena and California Senior Games until she lost her battle with cancer two months ago. “Cynthia was around me all the way back to my first swims in Long Beach. I had to do something in her memory,” Vivian told us. The 69-year-old decided to swim the 400 freestyle in the California Senior Games for the first time to honor her friend and mentor. Not only did she finish the race, she also qualified for the 500 free and two other events for the 2017 National Senior Games. There have been many tributes given for Rosedale, but none more emotional and heartfelt than Vivian’s.
In more Personal Best news, three other “Class of 2014” athletes have earned recognition:
Help Us Celebrate Our 30th Anniversary!
NSGA wants to share your fondest memories and fitness “secrets.” Selected entries will be included on a 30th Anniversary web page and newsletter in 2017, plus in special displays and activities in Birmingham. Follow the links to convenient online forms below.
What’s Your Favorite Memory of The Games?
It can be any special moment from funny to inspirational. The easy to complete form offers several ideas for the type of brief messages we would love to share with others. You can even attach a photo to go with your story.
“30 Health and Fitness Secrets of Senior Athletes”
The top 30 athlete “secrets” will be shared with national media in 2017. Tell us yours! It can be an inspiration, a favorite or your own original expression, or advice you have gathered from others. It can be about exercise, nutrition, keeping mentally active, or staying motivated.
NSGA Online Merchandise Store
Summer Styling with 2017 Logo Gear
We are now in the peak of the qualifying year, so it’s time to let everyone know that your goal is to be in Birmingham next year with gear featuring the 2017 logo!
Wearables with the 2017 logo and other images are available on our online store. When you click the link below, simply click on either NSGA or 2017 images to the various apparel types. Then click “Personalize” to position and add the artwork you want onto your selection. Get started today!
The Official NSGA Store at NSGA.com