Seniors go for the gold in long jump, pole vault, discus toss - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Seniors go for the gold in long jump, pole vault, discus toss

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Their bodies aren't as strong and limber as they used to be and they are known as senior citizens. But don't let the title fool you.  Seniors are proving they still have the strength, agility, and competitive spirit to take on some tough activities.

This week, more than 300 seniors from ten states are competing for medals in the 2009 Mississippi Gulf Coast Senior Games.

"It's the camaraderie that you have," said Lucy Bickham, the Events Coordinator for the Senior Games.  "We're trying to get it real big on the coast, because we don't have a lot of things in our Parks and Recreation Departments for the active seniors."

If you've ever thought that senior citizens can't be athletic, then you haven't met Donal Snyder of Biloxi.

"Look at this gigantic muscle here," said Snyder as he showed off his arm.

He is 87 and one of the oldest senior athletes in the country.

"I'm in the 85 to 89 class.  Get any older than this, you're dead," said Snyder.

The former coach is proof that age is just a number.  He excels in the discus throw, javelin toss, and high jump.

"I used to fall down.  See the scar back here and one up here?  I haven't fallen down since I started competing. I'm able to trip and catch myself," said Snyder.

Health is also a major motivator for Mildred Hubbard of Philip, MS.  The 75-year-old grandmother believes staying active helped her overcome cancer and other illnesses.

"I was diagnosed with diabetes and I beat it," said Hubbard.  "I had it for about two months and the doctor took me off of everything."

Whether it's an event that requires muscles or one that relies on skill, the seniors are truly an inspiration.

"There's no such word as I can't," said Hubbard.  "Always I can, I can, I can, I can."

The Senior Games are going on in cities from Gulfport to Pascagoula. And they include racquetball, pole vault, table tennis, even karaoke.  The competition continues through Saturday.

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