How to compete in Senior Olympics

By Henry Randolph

If you are age 50 or older and want to compete in Olympic sports, the nonprofit National Senior Games Association (NSGA), a member of the U.S. Olympics Committee, organizes just the thing for you and all fit men and women your age: the Senior Olympics. You can compete year-round in individual and team sports at the state level and try to qualify for the biennial Summer National Senior Games. Several states also stage Winter Games. Let your games begin by entering a state-level Senior Games event.

Entering State Senior Games

Go to the NSGA website and click on "State Games" in the left sidebar menu. Choose either "Summer Games" or "Winter Games" then click a state.

On the state splash page, click on the state event organizers' website link for detailed information, including a calendar of all Senior Games competitions in your state, both qualifying and non-qualifying, scheduled during the next 12 months, rules, locations and fees.

If you are ready to sign up, download the State Games registration form. Fill out and send it in on time with your check for entry fees. Or use the online sign-up on the state's website or the NSGA site.

Competing

Seniors have game.

Consult with your doctor, if necessary, to be sure you are fit to engage in strenuous physical activity.

To make participating worthwhile, get in shape and follow a training program, either individually or with your team.

Compete in as many state level non-qualifying Games as possible to gain experience before trying to qualify for the Nationals.

Be at Games venues at least two hours before your first event's scheduled start time, to orient yourself, get a registration packet, warm up and be on time for the start of your event.

Give it your best effort, expect serious competition from your peers. You will be competing in 5-year age brackets, starting with 50-54, 55-59, and so on, without upper limit. The top three individual finishers and the two top teams in each age group will qualify for the National Games. For certain sports, such as archery, track and field and others, it is possible to qualify by meeting NSGA's Minimum Performance Standards (MPS) for your sport and age group. For complete qualification rules, see References.

Preparing for Summer National Games

Let the Games begin!

On the NSGA website, click on the "National Summer Games" link. Read the basic information about where and when the next Nationals will be held.

Review the rules, important documents and Minimum Performance Standards posted here for the next scheduled Summer National Senior Games.

If you have qualified, wait for the Summer National Games registration package that NSGA automatically sends to all qualifiers via regular mail several months in advance of the registration deadline.

Complete the registration form or register online. From this point on, the process is the same as registering for individual State Games.

Come Nationals time, travel to the host city. When settled, check out where you'll be competing and double-check the scheduled times and locations for your events. On event day, allow time to do your pre-race warm-up, be on time for your events, then go for Olympic gold!

References

About the Author

Henry Randolph began writing as a corporate technical writer in 1997. He has written everything from policy manuals and corporate reports to internal newsletters and intranet content. Randolph's specialties include financial, military, fitness and technical topics. Since retiring in 2007, he has co-edited the "Wayzgoose Gazette," a nonprofit printing museum's newsletter. Randolph holds a master's degree in foreign service from Georgetown University.

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