By Drew Howard
Individuals of all skill levels are invited to sign up for the 2018 Michigan Senior Olympics (MSO) 39th Annual Summer Games, a 10-day event across Oakland and Macomb counties expected to draw 1,500 athletes from around the state.
The MSO is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyles through state games, sports competitions and wellness programs for active individuals ages 50 and up. This year’s Olympics offers up 27 events, including archery, bowling, cycling, golf, pickleball, softball, table tennis, and volleyball, among others.
All scheduled events will take place in Oakland and Macomb counties at various locations from August 10-19. The 2018 Summer Games will celebrate its opening ceremony in Rochester Hills.
“We would like to invite the entire community to join us for a free event on Friday, August 10 from 6-8 p.m. at Bloomer Park,” Becky Ridky, executive director of the MSO told the Gazette. “The event will include free food from local food trucks, a torch-lighting ceremony, and music on stage from Captain Fantastic, an Elton John Tribute Band.”
Registration for the games is now open to participants ages 50 and up through Friday, July 20. Qualifying athletes will move on to compete in the 2019 National Senior Games in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
New to this year’s lineup is the Power Walk event, which will see athletes go head to head in a speed walking competition at Oakland University on Sunday, August 19. Organizers hope the event will attract a new group of athletes.
Senior athletes are also invited to register for the annual Dancesport Competition taking place at the Royal Park Hotel on Sunday, August 5. The competition is open to both professional and amateur dancers in a wide variety of dance styles. Competitors are required to sign up with a partner.
Past MSO games have seen athletes of all different skill levels, according to Ridky, with this year being no different.
“Some athletes train year-round preparing for the games while others might just be trying a sport for the first time,” Ridky said. “Everyone is so welcoming to each other and cheers each other on. It’s a great atmosphere to be a part of.”
Ridky added that while many athletes will not earn a medal, the Summer Games is still a great excuse for competitors to strive toward beating their personal records.
One such casual senior athlete is Beth Ambrose, who’s participated in the summer golf competition for the past four years. Ambrose said the event is a great way to connect with new friends.
“I think it’s casual – I take it that way,” Ambrose said of the golf competition. “Now I’m trying to get other people to do it because it’s quite an experience. You meet people who you look forward to seeing again each year, and it’s very cool in your older age to meet people this way.”
Other scheduled events include badminton, billiards, bocce ball, disc golf, horseshoes, powerlifting, a 5K & 10K, racewalk, racquetball, shuffleboard, skills challenge, swimming, open water swim, tennis, track & field, and a triathlon.
To register for the MSO Summer Games, please visit michiganseniorolympics.org or call 248-608-0252.