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Superhero Senior Sunday: Gold Medalist in the Golden Years, "It's Never Too Late to Be an Olympian!"

by Emma Mattison – NASM, CPT, CNC and Functional Aging Specialist

"It's Never Too Late to Be an Olympian!"

Welcome to April's edition of Superhero Senior Sunday, where I share a stories of exercisers and seasoned athletes over 50. I want people to understand how capable we all are, and how wonderful it is to live a life of regular, enjoyable activity!

As I exclusively serve the population of mature adults, I have clients well into their 60's and 80's asking me, "Is it realistic for me to expect I can be _________ again?" Fill in that blank. I hear: fit, healthy, capable, strong, balanced, mobile, motivated... and the list goes on. I think it's safe to say, with a story such as yours, that the answer is, YES!

This month for Superhero Senior Sunday, I decided to feature an entire event of INCREDIBLE mature adults! If you are over 50 and looking to be inspired by the incredible will and feats of others, or you're looking to achieve greatness yourself, you will definitely want to know about the National Senior Olympic Games!

Photo courtesy of NSGA

About the National Senior Games Association

This annual event is set to happen for 2023 in Pittsburgh! Check out the video below for a brief trailer outlining the event. July 7-18, 2023 marks this year's national championships.

If you've never heard of the NSGA, it all started in 1985 with a fantastic group of seven men and women. These seven formed the original leadership for what was initially known as the US National Senior Sports Organization (aka USNSO). The vision of this organization was to promote healthy lifestyles for adults through education, fitness and sport.

The NSGA exists today as a non-profit organization dedicated to motivating active adults to lead a healthy lifestyle through the senior games movement. The Games consist of a 20-sport, biennial competition for men and women 50 and over. This is by far the largest multi-sport event in the world for seniors.

Here's a running list of the events! You may find multiple events that you enjoy thoroughly yourself (hint: it's never too late to be an Olympian!)










Table Tennis

​Road Race


​Racquet ball




​Track & Field


​Race Walk




Non-Ambulatory Shuffleboard

Non-Ambulatory Cornhold

Non-Ambulatory Bowling

Let me show you just a few of the many incredible faces accomplishing great feats well past their 50's. Here are their words of wisdom!

VIVIAN STANCIL – Blind Swimmer Gold Medalist

"I don't care if you don't swim. You can walk; you can play tennis; you can play pickup ball; you can bowl -- do something in your life. And take somebody else with you."

JULIA "HURRICANE" HAWKINS – 103 Year Old Gold Medalist

“When you get old you should have a lot of passions. Passions keep you going. They make you want to live and want to do. Get out there and make new friends and do something new every day.”

DEETTE SAUER – Swimming Gold Medalist

“Swimming literally saved my life. Never in my wildest dreams did I believe I would become an athlete in my senior years. Crazy!! Crazy good!!!"

How to Get Started

If you're over 50, and LOVE your sport or staying active – or maybe you have an unrealized athletic dream – then take this article as your sign to get started with the National Senior Olympic Games! Read on to find out how.

STEP 1 – Start Training!

The first step is to build a solid training program. Depending on your sport and your fitness level, that will entail 4, 6, 8, or 12 week blocks of training varying between strength endurance, power, speed-strength, hypertrophy, developing an aerobic base, working in anaerobic conditioning, mobility, balance, agility... to name a few training variables. As a certified personal trainer and functional aging specialist, I can help you create a straightforward, effective training program according to your sport, goals, and physical abilities.

Click here to read about my personal training and programs! I have many options ranging from pre-made programs with a once monthly email check-in, to 4 different plans that include weekly 1-1 check-ins (to help with adherence and guidance!) If you struggle with nutrient timing and proper macronutrient/Calorie consumption, I offer certified nutrition coaching as well.

Don't be a stranger! Get started today and schedule a free 30 min Zoom or phone call with me to chat about your goals and training history. I'd love to virtually meet you and help you get started on your mission for the National Senior Olympic Games!

STEP 2 – State Qualifying Competitions

Florence “Flo” Meiler, 87, Shelburne, VT (Shown in photo above) High Jump with a height of 0.94 meters

NSGA Member Organizations hold annual games with qualifying competitions in the year preceding The Games. Athletes that meet specific criteria while participating in the State Senior Games qualify to participate. August 2022 sparked the state-level qualifying games for the 2023 national championships. You've got just the right amount of time to build solid blocks of training for your qualifying state championships for the next annual NSGA!

Here's a link to browse your specific state-level championships.

Here's a link specifically to see how to qualify!

STEP 3 – Become a National Senior Olympic Games Athlete

To date, the NSGA has held 17 summer national championships. July 7-18, 2023 marks this year's national championships. Support those who have qualified for this year, and get excited for the 2024 Games! 2024 may be your year... so make sure you start training today!


Do YOU want to be featured, or nominate someone you know?

Are you 50 or older? Do you know someone 50 or older who you feel is a Superhero Senior? If you want a chance to have yourself or someone you love and admire featured for our next Superhero Senior monthly post, click the button below to be taken to our form! It's a simple questionnaire where you can share the story, and even include photos we can use for their article – if selected!

Only one person gets selected per month, so please do not be upset if you don't get chosen – we read all submissions, but choose by pulling from a hat, to keep decisions unbiased!


Ready to Start Training?

If you are 45+, ready for a change in your life – whether you are ready to be a champion of the senior Olympics... or your are simply looking to improve your health through diet and exercise, lose weight, get your balance and mobility back, feel stronger once again, or move freely, easily, and pain free – I offer online personal training & nutrition coaching, and other programs (Online Tai Chi is coming soon!)

The first step in getting started is to book a free 30 min call with me to chat about your goals, and share your health and training history!

You can also email me at


About the Author

Hi! I'm Emma Mattison. I'm a NASM certified personal trainer, nutrition coach, stretch & flexibility coach, pranayama breathwork guide, holistic nerd, and lover of birds & music! I specialize in functional fitness for older adults, and those with conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. Scientific literature is fun to me, and my goal is to make it understandable and fun for you!

I am driven to share knowledge I find fascinating & transformative with my clients, and the world. Everyone has the power to take their health into their own hands!

My love for fitness and true discovery of health started with helping my best friend – who I can now call my husband! Today, I couldn't do any of this as smoothly and enjoyably as I do now without him! Check out our YouTube, MyZeniverse! He literally edits and films everything. He's editing the next YouTube video next to me right now, as we speak! Check it out, and give it a like if it's helpful! 😊😊


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