Come One, Come All 4

Oregon Senior Games

Most of us aren’t born to be Olympic athletes. For mere mortals, cheering for elite athletes from the comfort of the couch is participation enough. In the spirit of competition for everyone—not just the professionals—the Oregon Senior Games (OSG) offers athletic opportunities for sporty-minded folks, ages 50 and over. OSG welcomes everyone to the joys of coming together for fun and healthy living.

“When you get old, you got to keep moving, or you don’t move at all,” says Oregon Senior Games Track & Field Competitor Florence Latter. “I’d like to be here when I’m 100.”

In the mid-1990’s, Oregon was one of only two states not hosting a local senior games qualifier for the National Senior Games. In 2014, VisitBend noticed the event’s absence and started the OSG.

“VisitBend saw the opportunity to promote wellness and introduce senior athletes to the recreational assets that Bend has to offer,” says Michael Coe, Race Director for Lay It Out Events, the current presenter of the Oregon Senior Games.

“The event encourages competition among athletes ages 50 and older in an inviting and inclusive environment, whether it be to qualify for the National Senior Games or simply to test themselves in one of 15 different events,” explains Coe.

This year’s OSG will be held June 12 to 18, throughout the Bend area. Disciplines in the upcoming Oregon Senior Games include—but are not limited to—archery, track and field, badminton, and swimming.

“I’d like to be here when I’m 100.” – Florence Latter

The Central Oregon Masters Aquatics (COMA) organizes the swimming portion of the Oregon Senior Games competition as well as weekly swim practices at Juniper Swim & Fitness. Much like the OSG, their programs are geared toward both the elite athletes and those simply looking to improve their stroke.

COMA coach Bob Bruce tirelessly trains 250 swimmers of many different swimming abilities throughout the year. As a lifelong swimming coach and the COMA events director, Bruce stresses that the word, “masters,” does not mean “masters of the universe.”

“Swimming is open for all,” says Bruce. “The biggest message here is that fitness opportunities are best done in group settings.”

While there may be first, second, and third place medals given for the best running times or bowling scores, OSG’s primary emphasis is on being active, social, and having fun.

“The Oregon Senior Games target a population that has a real interest—a real need—for group athletics,” explains Bruce.

“I love to see people interacting through the vehicle of sports, whether they are competing for a medal or simply looking to live a healthy lifestyle,” reiterates Coe.

The Oregon Senior Games is open to all people ages 50 and older, regardless of competitive drive.