With the 2017 National Senior Games being in such close proximity, nearly 900 Florida Senior Athletes traveled to Birmingham, Alabama and made their presence known, winning a total of 576 medals and setting 17 age group records. It was the second highest total of athletes representing all 50 states competing in the biennial games, held June 2-15.
Florida athletes brought home 221 gold, 188 silver and 167 bronze, according to the “Medal Count,” posted on www.nsga.com. The 576 medals was second behind Tennessee’s 659 overall medals. Rounding out the top five were California with 376, Texas with 369 and Ohio with 358.
CLICK HERE for a Complete List of Floridians winning medals at the 2017 National Senior Games
“The participation and medal totals at the 2017 National Senior Games are a testament to Florida Senior Athletes,” said Stephen Rodriguez, Sr. Vice President of the Florida Sports Foundation. “It shows the commitment of their choice of living an active lifestyle as they age and how they continue to strive for their personal best.”
All 19 of the National Senior Games sports had a Florida athlete among the medal winners and the medal winners stretched from the youngest age group, 50-54, into the 95-99 age group.
Highlights from the 2017 National Senior Games in Birmingham, Alabama included:
- Bowler Carol Teel, from The Villages, won medals in all three events and was part of record-setting teams in the 60-64 Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles competitions. She won a women’s singles silver medal and took gold in the women’s doubles, teaming with Cristy Morawski, of Milton, for a new age group record combined score of 1336. She also teamed with her husband, Gerald, to establish a new age group mixed doubles record with a combined score of 1318. The women’s doubles and mixed doubles efforts established new National Senior Games age group records.
- Among the Florida athletes winning medals were nine over the age of 90. They included:
Mary Kemp, Boca Raton, 94, Track and Field 50 Meter Dash Gold Medal
John Horwath, The Villages, 94, Archery, Compound Release Gold Medal
Jack Appel, Boca Raton, 93, Bowling Men’s Doubles Gold medal and Men’s Singles Silver Medal
Stanley Corwin, Boynton Beach, 91, Bowling Men’s Doubles Gold Medal
Ryan Beighley, The Villages, 91, Swimming 50 Yard Backstroke Gold Medal, 50 and 100 Yard
Breaststroke Gold Medals, 50 Yard Freestyle Gold Medal, Track and Field Javelin Silver Medal
Shirley Chase, St. Augustine, 91, Swimming 200 Yard Freestyle Silver Medal, 50 and 500 Yard Freestyle Bronze Medals
Doreen Johnstone, Fort Myers, 90, 5K Road Race Gold Medal
John Mataya, Ocala, 90, Shuffleboard Doubles Gold Medal
Clem Moorman, Punta Gorda, 90 (by 12/31/17), Track and Field Shot Put Bronze Medal
- Cyclist Kay Carver, of The Villages, won three 50-54 age group medals on her bike taking the 20K Road Race gold medal, the 40K Road Race silver medal and the 5K Time Trials bronze medal. She returned to the bike as one of three events in winning the Triathlon silver medal in the 50-54 age group.
- Two Florida Pickleball players won medals in all three events as Diane Ahern, of The Villages, won the 50-54 age group Women’s Singles gold medal and bronze medals in Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles. Deb Harrison, also of The Villages, won the 65-69 age group Women’s Singles gold medal, a silver Mixed Doubles medal and a bronze Women’s Doubles medal.
- Florida swimmers brought home 116 total medals, with five Florida swimmers climbing the medal stand six times, the maximum number of events athletes are eligible to register. Barbara Goltz, of Tallahassee, a gold, four silver medals and a bronze, in the 70-74 age group. David Jarvis, of The Villages, and Rudy Vazmina, of Sarasota, each won five gold and a silver medal. Jarvis in the 70-74 age group and Vazmina in the 65-69 age group. Jarvis also set age group records in the 50 and 100 yard backstroke eveents. Martin Schenk, of The Villages, had a gold medal, three silvers and two bronze in the 75-79 age group and George Schmidt won four gold medals and two silvers in the 65-69 age group.
In Track and Field events, Florida athletes won 53 medals as former FSG Athlete of the Year, Madelaine “Tiny” Cazel, of The Villages, led the way with five gold medals and a silver, while setting 80-84 age group records in the discus and javelin throws . Hollywood’s Brian Hankerson won four gold and a silver medal in the 55-59 age group and set records in the long jump and triple jump.
- John Hurd, of Navarre, ran his unbeaten streak to 32 consecutive Florida Senior Games and National Senior Games races, since 2003, with gold medals in the 50, 100 and 200 meter dashes in the 85-89 age group.
- FSF Sr. Vice President Stephen Rodriguez was among 30 individuals, past or present, honored as “Champions of the Games,” who have made outstanding contributions to create, promote and help grow The Senior Games Movement. The selected Champions were honored, by the National Senior Games Association (NSGA), for their selfless service at the state level, with the national board of directors, regional coordinators and staff. The Champions have devoted their time and treasure to advance Senior Games over three decades. Since 2001, Rodriguez has directed the Florida Senior Games, served on the NSGA Board of Directors (2003-17) and Chair of the Board (2013-2017). He was the 2013 recipient of the NSGA Warren Blaney Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.
- Besides athletes, the state of Florida was represented by two Florida Senior Games sport directors, Tim Austin, of Gainesville, and Dave Zarco, of Miami at the 2017 National Senior Games. Austin, who has been the sport director for Archery for every year of the Florida Senior Games dating back to 1992, was the event director in Biormingham and Zarco was the Badminton sport director. Both also assist the FSF in the Sunshine State Games for those sports.
The 2017 Florida Senior Games will be held December 2-10, in Clearwater, Florida. Florida Senior Games Series Qualifiers resume on September 28 with the Pensacola Senior Games and continue through November. Visit www.floridaseniorgames.com for the schedule of Florida Senior Games Series Qualifiers.
The 2019 National Senior Games will be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico with the 2018 Florida Senior Games serving as a qualifier for the 2019 National Senior Games.