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ODU Partners with City of Norfolk to Host Senior Olympics

Photo of Ricardo Macarans playing Lalami Iqbal in Table Tennis at the Senior OlympicsRicardo Macarans plays Table Tennis against Lalami Iqbal during the Senior Olympics Photo of Bean Bag Toss participantA Bean Bag Toss participant receives a Senior Olympics medal

Senior citizens from across Hampton Roads gathered this week at Old Dominion University for the city of Norfolk's 31st annual Norfolk Senior Olympics, a symbolic event intended to show that having an active, productive life while aging is a reality.

The event, which has been held since 1983 and typically draws more than 400 seniors each year to compete, was held May 12-15 at the ODU Student Recreation Center. Previously, registration for the senior Olympics was only open to Norfolk residents; however, this year the city allowed residents 50 years or older from anywhere in Hampton Roads to take part.

Participants competed for medals in more than 30 fitness and sporting events, such as track and field, tennis, softball hit and throw, basketball free throw, 1-mile run/walk, volleyball and swimming.

Other activities included:

  • Resource fair of senior-serving businesses and organizations
  • A special opening ceremony and parade of athletes
  • A keynote address by Chesapeake native and former NFL player Charles "Charlie" Stukes. Stukes was drafted as a defensive back in the fourth round of the 1967 NFL draft by the Baltimore Colts. He started for the Colts during Super Bowl V in 1971, when they defeated the Dallas Cowboys.

Of ODU, Maria Barner, bureau manager of Recreation & Leisure Activities with Norfolk Recreation, Parks & Open Space (RPOS), said: "Their state-of-the-art recreation center and the campus's numerous amenities allowed us to maximize the sporting events we can offer in a single location. We are very excited about this new partnership, this year's event and the potential to utilize ODU's ever-expanding campus to enhance the event in years to come."

The Norfolk Senior Olympics was established to help seniors succeed in life. The event's athletic competitions encourage Norfolk's seniors to remain active. The open and friendly atmosphere creates a space for networking and socialization. The resource fair provides attendees easy access to resources that they otherwise may not have been able to receive.

In 2013, more than 350 athletes participated in the event, representing 18 senior clubs and numerous senior-living facilities throughout Norfolk. It is planned and coordinated by Norfolk RPOS, the Norfolk Task Force on Aging and several area businesses.