Athletes are gearing up and preparations are underway for the 2023 Northern Virginia Senior Olympics. The games will take place September 9–24, and registration will be open July 6 to August 24.
The NVSO, founded in 1982, is an annual event where seniors aged 50 and up can participate in a little friendly competition in an array of sporting events and other competitions.
Events vary from competitive athletic sports, such as swimming, trail racing, and tennis, to non-physical recreational activities, including jigsaw puzzles, Scrabble, and crossword puzzles. There’s even an event that features bowling on a Nintendo Wii, in addition to the traditional 10-pin bowling event.
This year, new events include disc golf, synchronized diving, and advanced sudoku, and nine-hole, par-3 golfing.
The competitions are held in recreation centers, parks, and senior centers across NoVA.
Most events are split into five-year age divisions, as well as by gender. Each event has gold, silver, and bronze medals awarded.
Some of the competitors take their training seriously, like 81-year-old Al Lamb, who lives at the Four Seasons at Historic Virginia in Dumfries. He talked with VPM News about his training.
At last year’s games, 831 people participated across 74 individual events at 25 locations across NoVA. Over 40 records were broken in nearly 20 events, according to a news release after the 2022 games.
Ultimately, the event encourages seniors to practice both physical fitness and mental wellbeing. The rules posted on the website note that, “The emphasis is not so much on competition as it is on fellowship and socialization.”
Registration is online and costs $20. Some events (bowling, cycling, golf, and orienteering) have additional fees. You can also order a NVSO T-shirt at the time of registering, to be picked up at a designated location during the event.
To be eligible to participate in the games, you must be at least 50 years old before December 31, 2023, and you must be a resident of one of the sponsoring jurisdictions: Arlington County, City of Alexandria, City of Fairfax, City of Falls Church, Fairfax County, Fauquier County, Loudoun County, or Prince William County.
Merrifield-based NVSO is a volunteer organization and needs volunteers for the 16-day event.
Feature photo by Rena Schild
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