More than 10,000 athletes will gather in Cleveland, Ohio, July 19-Aug. 1 to participate in the 2013 National Senior Games. The athletes, ages 50 and up, will arrive from around the nation to compete in a wide variety of sports, including swimming, basketball, softball, tennis, cycling, volleyball and track and field.
The dedication, personal strength and sheer joy exhibited by their participation in their chosen sport is inspiring and shows the importance of an active, healthy lifestyle in the pursuit of lifelong well-being.
In honor of these “game changing” athletes, Humana, presenting sponsor of the National Senior Games, is launching its Game Changers program, which recognizes athletes who exemplify well-being and are inspiring Americans of all ages to get active and make changes that can lead to a healthier, happier life.
“As the presenting sponsor of the National Senior Games since 2007, Humana is dedicated to promoting health and lifelong well-being,” said Bruce Broussard, Humana’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “The Humana Game Changers are living examples of one of Humana’s core values – inspire health.”
Meet the five Humana Game Changers for 2013:
Flo Meiler, 79, Shelburne, Vermont
“I didn’t pick up pole vaulting and other track and field events until I was in my 60s,” said Meiler, who has been competing in the National Senior Games since the 1990s. “I quickly found that I not only enjoyed competing, but also was pretty good for my age. I’ve loved competing ever since and want other seniors to know that anybody, at any age, can try something new to improve their health.”
She will compete in pole vault, high jump, long jump, javelin, discus, hammer throw and tennis doubles at the 2013 Games, and is hoping to add to her 15 world records and 11 U.S. records.
Learn more about her in this video.
DeEtte Sauer, 72, Houston, Texas
When Sauer first started swimming at age 58, she couldn’t make it across the pool and wanted to quit. But her coach encouraged her to push herself and keep trying. Despite learning she had severe blockages in her main arteries, she has overcome all doubts and challenges and now trains at least four times a week and will be participating in several swimming events at the 2013 Games, including the butterfly, individual medley, backstroke and freestyle.
Mario Alvarez, 75, Milton, Florida
Alvarez, who was in the Navy for 22 years, has been playing tennis for more than 40 years and will be competing in singles and doubles matches this year, his third National Senior Games. He holds annual “Tennis Across America” clinics for players of all ages and has taught accredited/continuing education tennis for 25 years at Pensacola State College.
Miriam Jackobs, 73, Mason, Ohio
Jackobs, a registered dietician and adjunct professor at Wilmington College of Ohio for 20 years, began participating in race walks in 1998 and will compete in several race events at the Games. Since 1998, she has competed in races on all seven continents, including Antarctica in March 2012, and is working on her certification as a race walk judge.
Ethel Lehmann, 83, Largo, Florida
Lehmann, a mother of five and grandmother of nine, has loved playing softball since high school and was inducted into the National Senior Softball Hal of Fame in 2008. She has been a member of the Freedom Spirit of Florida softball team since 1992.
We will follow our five Game Changers and other athletes during the National Senior Games and provide news, photos and video at http://www.humananews.com/ , Twitter (@humananews) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/humana). You can also get more information about the world’s largest multi-sport event for those over 50 on the National Senior Games website, http://www.nsga.com/