LIMA — Growing older has a different look for those competing in the 18th annual Senior Olympics, going on Saturday through June 7 around Lima.
“The first time I went to the nationals, it was completely inspiring. You just don’t expect to see grandmas and grandpas running track or slamming the volleyball,” said Mary Lou Paisley, who along with Donna Heckler is coordinating the local senior games.
Since that epiphany 18 years ago, Paisley has made certain that area seniors could compete locally in this national multi-sport event.
“I think the No. 1 thing that Olympic participants get from this is they feel better, and they are more inspired about getting older and all the possibilities that holds. Secondly, it’s a lot of fun. Senior Olympians tend to be people with very positive outlooks on life,” she added.
As in the past few years, events this year range from table tennis to swimming.
“We try to have something for everyone. In table tennis, the competition is always strong. When you get to Bocce Ball, it’s more for fun, and swimming is somewhere in the middle. At the local level, we want people to have fun and enjoy this way to be fit,” Paisley said.
Participants this year will qualify for the 2014 nationals. This year the national event will be held in Cleveland.
“This is the first time that Ohio has hosted the national event. This year the nationals will be July 19 to Aug. 1 with about 12,000 senior athletes and their families participating,” she said.
Among those will be 12 Lima-area athletes who qualified in last year’s local event, including Linda Clay, Dan Cline, Denis Cline, Tom Dautenhahn, Bill Hanlin, Larry Lewis, Sam Moening, Richard Rockey, Ben Storer, Dick VanHorn, Frank Vasquez and Ron Weis.
Anyone interested in participating this year can register until the day of the event to compete.