Delaware Senior Olympics History
Delaware Senior Olympics operates as a not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) organization. It was founded in 1991 under the sponsorship of Sussex County Senior Services and the first games were held in May 1992.
Since then, Delaware has held annual games beginning in August through October and has seen phenomenal growth. In 1993, we had 160 athletes who competed in 11 sports. During our last qualifying year, we had 1100 athletes competing in 29 sports, and 1200 members.
Delaware has also been well represented at the biannual National Senior Games held in June 1993 at Baton Rouge, LA, in May 1995 at San Antonio, TX, in May 1997 at Tucson, AZ. In October 1999 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL, in July 201 in Baton Rouge, LA and in May-June 2003 in Hampton Roads, VA. Some 334 senior athletes represented Delaware in Hampton Roads, almost triple the number which competed in Tucson in 1997. Delaware athletes have done well in national competition, earning 6 gold medals, 1 silver, 1 bronze and 10 ribbons in 1997 and increased that performance at Orlando in 1999 with 7 gold medals, 4 silver, 6 bronze, and 24 ribbons! A total of 208 Delawareans competed in the 2001 games in Baton Rouge and earned 2 gold medals, 7 silver,10 bronze and 28 ribbons. At the 2003 games in Hampton Roads, Delaware athletes turned in an outstanding performance, earning 10 gold medals, 6 silver, 8 bronze and 46 ribbons! The Delaware contingent to the Pittsburgh games in 2005 had 318 entries bringing home 10 gold medals, 15 silver, 16 bronze and over 12 ribbons. Of the 251 athletes competing in the 2007 Louisville Senior Games, preliminary reports indicate 10 gold medals, 6 silver, 11 bronze and over 29 ribbons.
Delaware was also represented by three athletes at the first Winter Senior Games held in Lake Placid, New York in February 2000. They earned 3 gold medals, 1 silver and 1 ribbon, an outstanding performance. In January 2003, in Buffalo, NY, The Delaware Hawks captained by Ed Grier represented Delaware at the Senior Olympics Ice Hockey Championships and had a memorable experience.
Delaware Senior Olympics has progressed from an organization that provides annual competitive events to one that additionally provides year-round fitness programs. The organization also serves its participants by providing ongoing training information, literature that promotes wellness and healthy lifestyles and promotion of interim events. A major year-round program is “Walk Delaware”, a partnership program with the state Division of Services for the Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities. Some 5,000 walkers have been enrolled since the inception of the program, committing to walk the length and breadth of Delaware (131 miles) during a one-year period. Certificates, patches and pins are awarded for completion of the program.
The major strengths of Delaware Senior Olympics include the enthusiasm of the participants and volunteers, a strong Board of Directors and Office Staff, integration of athletic skills and fitness programs with healthy lifestyles and an opportunity to complete at both the State and National levels. The success of our programs provides a needed service to Delaware’s seniors. A positive image that projects a healthy lifestyle can motivate the 50 plus population to stay active.