First Athlete to Register: “I jumped on it!”
Registration of qualified athletes has opened for the 2022 National Senior Games presented by Humana, and NSGA staff wondered who the first athlete would be to sign up, from what state, and why so fast.
It turns out that a “newbie” beat everyone to the buzzer. “I jumped on it because I wanted to be included and didn’t know if it would fill up,” explains 63-year-old cyclist Tina Anders of Petaluma, California. Inspired by the Olympics and Tour de France, Tina started cycling in 2017 and then decided to enter competitions in Sonoma County and again at the 2018 Pasadena Senior Games. Tina had to miss the 2019 Games but is now focused on regular rides and beginning serious training with a coach in November to be in top racing shape next May. We’re excited for all of the great experiences ahead as Tina develops as a competitive senior cyclist!
We also congratulate NSGA staffer Andrew Walker, who won our office poll by guessing the first athlete would come from California.
HELPFUL REGISTRATION LINKS
- NSGA Registration Webpage for registration dates, 2021 state results status, entry fees and deadlines.
- Competition Schedules Page with Age Specific Schedule (which provides dates for most events and age groups) as well as Golf Course Assignments, Racquetball Schedule, Track & Field Schedule and Swimming Order of Events.
- NSGA Hotels and Lodging Page – find guaranteed low-price rooms.
There are still some remaining 2021 State Qualifying Games. Find calendar and games contacts at the State Information Page at NSGA.com. Athletes qualifying for the FIRST time in 2021 will be eligible to register for the respective sport/event after the state submits 2021 results to NSGA, results are verified AND the respective state and sport are listed on the NSGA website.
2022 Venue Spotlight: Bowling
Sawgrass Lanes, located in Tamarac northwest of downtown Fort Lauderdale, is an attractive full-service center developed by Bowlero Corp., the largest owner and operator of bowling centers in the world. The facility is well-suited for a national bowling competition.
Sawgrass Lanes has 56 natural wood lanes, great lane side food and drink options, and pro shop offers bowling ball sales, drilling, shoes and gear. There’s also an arcade and billiards tables to add to the fun atmosphere.
The Everglades are Ever Popular!
Greater Fort Lauderdale is the gateway to the Everglades, where wild beauty makes up almost two-thirds of the destination’s total area. Hop aboard an airboat and listen to fun facts about this impressive ecosystem. Take in exciting sights of exotic flora, fauna, and wildlife from alligators to Florida panthers.
The “slow-moving river” of coastal mangroves, sawgrass marshes and pine flatwoods sprawls across nearly 1.5 million acres and is considered one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems. Experience a sliver of this preserved natural paradise on an hour-long airboat tour gliding across the smooth, glassy water at Sawgrass Recreation Park or Everglades Holiday Park, both less than an hour away from Fort Lauderdale.
Hang on as the boat hits speeds of up to 60 mph and the captain and “gladesman” expertly wind through the lily pads and sawgrass on the lookout for alligators. Feel free to let your spirit soar as you view nature at its finest. After spotting a few alligators in their natural habitat, learn more about the unofficial Everglades mascot while watching Animal Planet’s Gator Boys perform a live show back onshore at Everglades Holiday Park or visit the wildlife sanctuary at Sawgrass Recreation Park. Thrill seekers can also enjoy an exclusive nighttime airboat adventure with Sawgrass Recreation Park. If you’re feeling extra adventurous and want to eat like a local, try fried alligator bites while you’re there.
Must-See Interview: Diane Freidman and Julia Hawkins Talk About Breaking “The Hurricane’s” 100+ Record
Last month, 100-year-old Ohio runner Diane Freidman competed at Michigan Senior Olympics (MSO) and broke the W100+ 100-meter dash record set in 2019 by Julia Hawkins. She’s shown in this photo being congratulated by MSO’s Executive Director, Becky Ridky.
Growing Bolder leaped at the opportunity to stream a live interview with Diane and her coach Bruce Sherman about her accomplishments, and then brought in Julia to congratulate her and have some fun track talk. Host Marc Middleton quipped it was the first time in history two 100+ athletes were caught talking smack on TV.
Diane started running eight years ago and does not travel far to compete but had already notched three 95-99 age masters world records before setting two more in Michigan in the 100- and 200-meter distances, plus an American javelin record as a Centenarian. Michigan was her first Senior Games appearance, and we hope she will come to the National Senior Games next May to receive a hero’s welcome.
In the interview, which streamed live on Twitch, YouTube and on both the NSGA and Growing Bolder Facebook pages, Julia revealed she has yet another amazing goal. In November she plans to run the 100-meter race at Louisiana Senior Games and set a new mark in the 105+ age category, which would make her the first male or female American to ever do it! Good luck, Julia!
Here’s the link for this inspiring and entertaining segment: Diane “The Flash” Friedman and Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins Interview
Welcome New Partner – Arnicare
NSGA is pleased to announce a new partnership with Boiron, the maker of Arnicare, a plant-powered topical pain reliever. Arnicare topicals help relieve muscle pain, stiffness, swelling from injuries, and bruises. Under the terms of the agreement, Arnicare will be an NSGA sponsor and partner of the National Senior Games in Ft. Lauderdale, May 10-23, 2022.
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
Available in a variety of sizes at major retailers, pharmacies, and natural product stores nationwide
Arnicare samples will be provided to all participating athletes in Ft. Lauderdale as part of a special welcome gift. Additionally, Arnicare will be exhibiting in the Athlete Village and a high-profile sport venue during the Games.
To learn more about Arnicare and to find a retailer near you, visit Arnicare.com/NSGA.
September Athlete of the Month
Amputee Adapts to Find His Sport
Gary Bertelsen, 75, Westerville, OH
Gary Bertelsen figures he has good sports genes. His brother Jim played football for the Texas Longhorns and for another five years in the NFL. He walked on the track team at the University of Wisconsin. When told he would be getting scholarship, he trained as hard as he could. “There’s two ways to train- the hard and smart ways,” he explains. “I got the hard work part, not the smart part. I essentially over trained.”
Nonetheless, Gary loved all sports. “I did everything you can do on two feet – softball, golf, football, you name it,” he says. “I was also an addicted runner since three years old and started doing half and full marathons after college.”
Everything changed with a deer hunting accident in 1979. “I bumped my gun while turning on the stand. It fell to the ground and went off. The bullet went through my left leg above the ankle.” Ultimately, the leg was amputated midway between the foot and knee. He now says it was also the luckiest day of his life because there was a doctor in the hunting party.
At first, Gary was devastated. “It took me a year after getting my first prosthesis to make my brain and my body take one running step,” he says. “It was not a linear progression to go through the process that people go through after a traumatic experience. I went back and forth through denial, anger, coping and acceptance before I got on with my life.
Once he took that step, he didn’t look back. “I started doing 10Ks and half marathons using old, antiquated equipment,” he says. “I’ve run five marathons as an amputee and every one of them kicked my butt. Not only did it damage the leggings inside the prosthesis, I had to walk backwards down steps for two weeks afterwards.”
When running kept doing damage to his residual limb, Gary didn’t sit down. He tried cycling. “I even made my own prosthetic cycling leg with a plywood foot and ski pole pylons laminated to a socket,” he recalls. Then, in 2015, with a much improved prostheses, he decided to try running again and signed up for what he thought was a half marathon run. “Then I read the rules that said if you run one stride you are disqualified, and I thought ‘what the heck is this?’”
Gary had discovered Race Walk. After researching, watching videos and attending a clinic by famed coach Dave McGovern, he knew he had found his way forward. “I just fell in love with the sport and then got into the senior circuit in 2016.”
Gary found he could be competitive racing with a prosthetic lower leg. He usually wins his age division at the state level, and finished 4th and 5th respectively in the M 70-74 1500m and 5000m events at the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana, adding he is motivated by more experienced elite age peers like Norm Frable and Richard Campbell.
He laughs when he shares that he is listed by World Masters Rankings at #1 in the 1500m and #2 in the 5000m race walks for his age for the year 2020. “The asterisk is that most of the competitions around the country were canceled, so there were fewer opportunities. And many competitors were damned concerned about going, like me,” he observes. “My wife and I have I have family in Florida and decided to compete at the 2020 Florida Senior Games. I thought they ran the event very well and very safely.”
Rankings aside, Gary is much more focused on his quality of life and continuing in sports. “I feel like I found a way to stay alive and fit as long as I possibly can. It’s incredible exercise. I weigh the same as I was when I graduated high school!”
What’s YOUR story? To submit yours, or to nominate a fellow athlete, Please Click Here.
Health and Well-Being
NSGA Champions Falls Prevention Awareness
September 10-24 is Falls Prevention Awareness Week, a time when the issue of falls in older adults are highlighted and efforts are made to reduce the risk for everyone, even among Senior Game athletes. NSGA again joins the National Council on Aging (NCOA) to share helpful information and a special Falls Free Checkup that helps individuals understand their risks. Visit NSGA’s social media pages throughout this month for related information, links, and stories of senior athlete fall survivors.
Last month, with the help of physical therapist Dr. Becca Jordre, we discussed the key resources available to help you work on sports related balance and the importance of specific balance training. This month, we checked back in to gain her advice from the standpoint of physical therapy and fall prevention for older athletes. Here is what Dr. Jordre had to say:
“One great way to protect against falls is to be sure your home is set up in a safe manner that will make falls less likely,” she says. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a great online home safety checklist that walks you through each room to be sure you’ve thought of everything in relation to fall prevention and safety. It is a very helpful guide.“ The guide can be found here:
Falls Prevention and Safety Guide
Dr. Jordre also emphasized the importance of seeking help from a physical therapist if you notice your balance changing or if you find yourself worried about falling. “Fear of falling is actually a risk factor for falling. People behave differently when they are afraid of falling, and that can be a downward spiral, she explains. “A physical therapist can evaluate you to see which areas of your physical health may need to be addressed to reduce your risk of falling. The root cause of falls can vary by person. For some it relates more to strength or flexibility, and for others it is all about balance. A physical therapist can set you up with an individualized plan that really targets your needs.”
If you don’t have specific concerns but you want to get ahead on fall prevention, NCOA has compiled a list of evidence-based fall prevention programs. Check the link to see which programs are offered near you here:
This article was prepared by Andrew Walker, MPH, NSGA Health and Well-being Director
Health & Well-Being Partners
NSGA Sport Partners