South Florida has 11,938 reasons to be excited in May, and it’s not just for the beaches and balmy weather.

That’s the number of athletes age 50 and over who will compete in 21 medal sports at the 2022 National Senior Games presented by Humana, taking place at sport venues around Broward County from May 10-23. Another 15,000 family members and companions are expected to travel with them.

The National Senior Games Association (NSGA) says this represents the third largest number in the 32-year history of The Games, and the Olympic-style event is recognized as the largest qualified multisport event in the world.

The turnout removes any doubt that the pandemic would keep senior athletes from getting back into the game, despite disruptions that caused most of the nationwide qualifying games to cancel or go virtual in 2020 and 2021 and caused the 2022 National Senior Games to be postponed six months from its original date. “Our athletes crave the social connections as much as the competition, and we knew they were itching to get back into the game.,” NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker said. “Our theme could not be more appropriate – this will be a reunion for the ages.”

Humana has been the Presenting Sponsor of the National Senior Games since 2007 and stands with NSGA to celebrate senior athletes who demonstrate healthy, active lifestyles. “At Humana, we help seniors achieve their best health and well-being, and we encourage seniors to pursue an active lifestyle,” said William Shrank, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Humana. “The individuals participating in this year’s National Senior Games are outstanding athletes who can serve as examples to people of all ages of the physical, mental and social benefits of being fit and active.”

Riker emphasized that the Senior Games Movement is not just about athletic competition. “Senior athletes are not just going for medals, they are also gaining the benefits of social interaction and having goals to motivate them to keep moving,” he said. “It’s a lifelong journey that can begin for anyone, at any skill level, at any age. Even if people don’t ‘get into The Games’ we hope our examples inspire all aging adults to remain active for life. But I can assure you that getting exercise this way is a lot more fun!”

A Competition for the Ages

Competitions are held in five-year age brackets from 50 to 100+ to allow athletes to compete with their peers for medals. The oldest athlete this year is 103-year-old golfer Lindsay Tise from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The oldest Floridian will be Stanley Corwin, a 97-year-old bowler from Boynton Beach in Broward County.

“Everyone always asks about the oldest athletes, and they are truly inspiring,” Riker commented. “But we have amazing athletes and examples of healthy, active aging at every age level of The Games. All of our events are free for the public and we hope people of all ages in South Florida will come out to experience the atmosphere of fitness, fun and fellowship that makes us so unique.”

The 21 sports offered range from Triathlon to Shuffleboard, and two new sports were added for 2022 – Beach Volleyball and Cornhole. “The response has been tremendous for both, but especially for Beach Volleyball,” Riker noted. “A large number of our indoor players were eager for the chance to also play outdoors on the pristine Fort Lauderdale beach.”

Special Events and Competitions Free to the Public

Two special events and three theme activities are being offered for athletes and will be free to the public.

The Flame Arrival Ceremony sponsored by Aviv Clinics will be a reunion of the athletes in a fun beach party atmosphere on Wednesday May 11 at 7 pm in Las Olas Oceanside Park. The highlights is the inspiring torch run and cauldron lighting, and during the program athlete Andy “Mr. Impossible” Steinfeldt will entertain with a world record attempt for side planking, and will sing a song while doing it. “The Voice of the Miami Dolphins,” Jimmy Cefalo, who is the play-by-play man and host of South Florida’s First News Program for WIOD, will emcee the event.

The Celebration of Athletes sponsored by Ageility will be another outdoor party Monday, May 16, 7 pm at Las Olas Intracoastal Park. This event includes the ceremonial Parade of Athletes, special presentations and the passing of the flag to Pittsburgh, which is hosting the 2023 National Senior Games presented by Humana. Prior to the Celebration of Athletes, everyone is invited to join us to attempt to break the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® title for the Largest Game of Freeze Dance at 6 pm. The attempt is sponsored by Pacira BioSciences, Inc. and iovera°, a hand-held device manufactured by Pacira that delivers extreme cold therapy to treat nerves and immediately reduce pain without the use of drugs.

Convention Center to Host Activities and Sport Action

The hub of activity will be the Broward County/Fort Lauderdale Convention Center, where all athletes check in and several sports will be contested. The Village, a daytime health and well-being expo area will offer visitors a range of exhibits, vendors and activities. Three notable events are also planned at the convention center and are also open to the public:

“Thriving in Place” National Film Premiere

Monday, May 10, 3 pm, room 222. First viewing of a groundbreaking documentary exploring the complex nature of aging and the challenge of change. The film is followed by discussion by national expert panelists and filmmakers Rainie and Chris Arnes.

Women Of the Games: A View of Title IX                            

Tuesday, May 17, 2022, 3 pm, room 222. The first of two Olympic Day events will highlight contributions of women in the Senior Games Movement in light of the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Featured presenters include running legend Kathrine Switzer and writer/athlete/art advocate Madeline Murphy Rabb. Nine pieces of visual art from the Al Oerter Foundation/Art of The Olympians will also be presented.

Your Title IX Story: The Art of The Olympians

Thursday, May 19, 1 pm, room 222. The Art Of The Olympians collection, paired with a brain stimulating interactive learning practice led by University of Miami Art and Medicine program will prime our creativity for an enriching story sharing experience.

Another major activity at the convention center will be the Senior Athlete Fitness Exam (SAFE) sponsored by Zibrio. SAFE has conducted athlete screenings at The Games since 2011 and reflects NSGA’s mission to promote health and well-being. The ongoing program has produced valuable research metrics about highly active seniors while providing feedback to athletes to help them avoid future sport-related injuries.

People can follow the action through the Games Daily online news platform with news and links to the popular Photo Gallery, results and event information. Find it at NSGA.com/2022Daily beginning May 10. Growing Bolder is the Official Media Partner of NSGA and will be producing a livestreamed daily report and other stories on its Facebook, Instagram and YouTube channels.

Additional National Partners include Ageility, Aviv Clinics, Kohler Walk-In Bath, Pacira BioSciences, Arnicare, Zibrio, Baptist Health, Papa and Sagewell Financial. The event also received partner support from Come Play in Florida, Broward County Government and Visit Lauderdale.

For more information, please visit NSGA.com.

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