Some have just passed age 50, some others are twice that total, and many more are in between.
But what the record number of participants in the 2023 Northern Virginia Senior Olympics all have in common is a commitment to bettering themselves and those around them.
“Camaraderie is just a wonderful thing,” Arlington County Board Chairman Christian Dorsey said at the two-week-long effort’s opening ceremony, held Sept. 9 at Thomas Jefferson Community Center in Arlington.
The ceremony then led directly into competition, the first being the 1,600-meter run – held in the air-conditioned community center, which was a blessing given that conditions outdoors were sultrier than a Julie London recording.
Events will continue through Sept. 24 at 20-plus venues throughout Northern Virginia for the 925 registered participants. “It’s a banner year for us,” said Jennifer Weber, event director for track competition.
The ceremony was aided by the Arlingtones providing the National Anthem and the Alexandria City High School JROTC color guard presenting the colors, with competitors Carlos Rodriguez and Margaret DeWilde carrying the Olympic torch.
The ceremony gave Dorsey the chance to ask attendees to get the word out about opportunities for seniors and encourage the public to cheer on competitors.
“Spread the joy of what’s happening,” he said. “Invite people to enjoy this incredible thing that has been going on for 40 years.”
(Proving that seasoned citizens can roll with the punches, the opening ceremony was conducted using a bullhorn after the expected microphone did not arrive. Dorsey, however, put into use his “politician voice” and, as a result, he required no artificial amplification.)
Northern Virginia Senior Olympics is sponsored by the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun and Prince William and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church. Competition results will be posted on the organization’s Website at www.nvso.us.