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Your UCP: National October 13, 2003
Sports & Leisure

Sports & Team Games

National Senior Games – Senior Olympics

Senior RunnersThe National Senior Games Association (NSGA) was developed in 1985 with a vision of promoting a healthy lifestyle for seniors through education, fitness, and sports. The NSGA initially had its headquarters in St. Louis, MO but is now located in Baton Rouge, LA. This is a not-for-profit organization with a volunteer board of directors and a full-time staff of 12. The NSGA is a community-based member of the United States Olympic Committee and serves as one of the USOC’s official arms to the senior population.

The NSGA sanctions and coordinates senior games across the United States and has 50 member organizations which included 49 state senior game associations and Washington, D.C. The NSGA is in charge of conducting the National Senior Games/Senior Olympics. To compete in these games, you must be at least 50 years of age and qualify at a NSGA sanctioned state game.


Senior BasketballThe NSGA’s mission is assisting seniors in achieving greater value and quality in their lives by staying healthy, active and fit. The steady growth of the national senior games and the country’s continuing interest in health and aging makes the National Senior Games Association an important resource.


Senior SwimmersThere are 18 sports in the National Senior Games and most of the state senior games: archery, badminton, basketball, bowling, cycling, golf, horseshoes, racewalk, racquetball, road race, shuffleboard, softball, swimming, table tennis, tennis, track & field, triathlon and volleyball.

In 1987, over 23,500 senior athletes participated in the first national multi-sport competition exclusively for seniors, then known as the U.S. National Senior Olympics. In 1989, there were over 3,400 competitors in St. Louis, MO. In 1991, in Syracuse, NY, over 5,000 senior athletes competed in the National Senior Sports Classic. In 1993, more than 7,200 senior athletes competed in Baton Rouge, LA. It soon became evident that these national senior games were becoming the fastest growing competition in the U.S. In 1995, San Antonio, TX hosted over 8,000 senior athletes for the games, and Tucson, AZ had over 10,000 senior athletes competing in 18 events. In 1999, the National Senior Games were held in Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando, FL where 11,000 seniors competed. The National Senior Games/Senior Olympics are held every two years and Baton Rouge, LA will host the 2001 games on July 14-28.


A new event, the Winter National Senior Games, was added in 2000 where more than 350 senior competitors participated at Lake Placid, NY in alpine skiing, cross country skiing, curling, ice hockey, and snowshoeing. The site for the 2002 Winter Senior Olympic Games has not been selected yet.


Person Batting a BallTwo of the 49 states that have senior games are Illinois and Missouri. The main purpose of the state games is to provide an annual physical fitness event to promote a social, competitive, athletic, and recreational event for older adults. The State Senior Games also promote an interest in lifetime sports, recreation and physical exercise as a means of enhancing one’s quality of life. An awareness of abilities and capabilities of older citizens is also promoted. Along the way, volunteerism is developed and private and public support for fitness and training is promoted.

Many of the state senior games also have fun events in addition to the NSGA 18 qualifying events, including: darts, bowling, billiards, shooting events, soccer, washers, football and softball throws, and basketball shooting skills. The age ranges for national and senior games competition is as follows: 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79, 80-84, 85-89, and 90-94.


Senior ArcherThe major objective of Senior Olympics is to encourage older people to participate and remain active - physically, emotionally and socially. Getting prepared for and participating in athletically- oriented events helps seniors to become more conscious of the importance of exercise and physical fitness in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

The senior olympics concept was developed by the Jewish Community Center in St. Louis, MO in 1980 when over 400 senior participants participated in the initial senior olympics competition. Much of the credit for senior competition is given to the St. Louis Jewish Community Center, the volunteers and sponsors of the St. Louis Senior Olympics. In 1999, over 1,600 seniors participated from 19 states. The St. Louis Senior Olympics had the following competitive events: track & field, softball/football throws, bowling, basketball, golf, tennis, volleyball, soccer kick, shuffleboard, handball, racquetball, squash, swimming, softball, table tennis, bocce, horseshoes, cycling, art, badminton, accuracy plug casting, archery, orienteering, billiards, ballroom dancing, and bridge.


Senior Long JumpThe National Senior Games Association
3032 Old Forge Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
Phone: (225) 925-5678

Illinois Senior Olympics
1415 North Grand Avenue
Springfield, IL 62702
Phone: (217) 784-2284
Email: sshield@cwlp.com

Missouri State Senior Games
1105 Carrie Franke Drive
Columbia, MO 65211
Phone: (573) 882-2101

The information provided here is offered as a service only. The National Center on Physical Activity and Disability, University of Illinois at Chicago, the National Center on Accessibility, and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago do not formally recommend or endorse the equipment listed. As with any products or services, consumers should investigate and determine on their own which equipment best fits their needs and budget.

Source: NCPAD

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