Seniority rules 

It’s been nearly two
months since the cupping of the Olympic torch in London. The athletes,
spectators and media have long since migrated back to their home
countries. The Olympic spirit has gone cold for many, but competition is
just heating up for those participating in the Oklahoma Senior State

Saturday and running through Oct. 17, the games allow athletes ages 50
and older to compete in a variety of events including archery, cycling,
swimming, basketball, tennis, and track and field. More than 400
competitors are expected to take part.

very pleased to be able to host these athletes,” said Wendel
Whisenhunt, director of Oklahoma City’s Parks and Recreation Department.
“These seniors are a testament to the importance of fitness at every
age, and embody the can-do spirit we all strive for.”

Senior State Games may not be as rigorous as the Olympics, but they’re a
lot tougher than one might think. Its participants are serious about
the competition. John Stroup, a 65-year-old swimmer, will be competing
in eight events and hopes to set a state record.

always good to see everyone each year,” Stroup said. “There’s a social
element to the games that I enjoy, but make no mistake about it: I’m
here to compete.”

This year’s games
will take place at 20-plus venues throughout Oklahoma City. Athletes
whose times meet the qualifying standard for national competition in
their age category can advance to next year’s National Senior Games in

really isn’t any place to compete after you’ve reached a certain age,”
said Douglas Paulsen, coordinator of the games. “That’s why this event
is so important.”

addition to plenty of healthy competition, the event also offers the
Games Gala, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-themed party from 6 to 9 p.m.
Oct. 12 at the Oklahoma History Center, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive. Tickets
are $20.

Whether it’s
for the social aspect or the competitive spirit, the Senior State Games
gives participants something to look forward to each year. Stroup said
he wishes more people knew about it and participated.

“Is it harder at 65 than it was at 45?

course,” he said. “But for me this is more than just staying active.
I’ve got a lot going. The reason I can do what I can at my age is
because fitness is a serious part of my life.”

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