Register now for local Senior Olympics

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Barbara Ruben

Bernie Stamm spent his childhood skiing in the Alps and moved on to become a ski instructor as an adult. A lifelong athlete, the 72-year-old resident of Ashburn, Va., also plays singles tennis and competes in numerous track and field events in the Northern Virginia Senior Olympics.

One of his favorite events is the javelin throw. In fact, Stamm has a photo of himself taken in 1958 at age 19, just as he released a javelin in an athletic event. He looks virtually unchanged — except for his silver hair — in a very similar photo of Stamm throwing a javelin at the Northern Virginia Senior Olympics last year.

Stamm lives by the motto of the Virginia state Senior Olympics, which he attended in May: “You don’t stop playing because you grow old; you grow old because you stop playing.”

Of course, Stamm admits some things have changed since he started competing as a young man. “The biggest difference is the recovery time. When you’re a teen, you’re as good as new the next day. Now it takes me longer to bounce back,” he said.

Stamm will participate again in this year’s Northern Virginia Senior Olympics, which will be held Sept. 17 to 28. 

Registration forms for the more than 25 events are available at senior centers and senior communities or by calling (703) 228-3600, ext. 9996. They can also be downloaded at www.nvso.us.  The registration deadline is Sept. 1.

Registration costs $10 plus $1 per event, which include, among others, basketball, swimming, miniature golf, bowling and fencing. New sports this year include volleyball, badminton and table tennis.

For those who prefer mental gymnastics, there are also competitions in chess, bridge, backgammon and other games.

The events take place at various venues throughout Northern Virginia. Participants must be 50 years old by Dec. 31 and live in one of the sponsoring jurisdictions: cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church, counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun and Prince William.

Marylandevents start in August

Though Montgomery County has cut the Senior Olympics from its Recreation Dept. budget, many of the Maryland Senior Olympics events will be held once again this year in the county. But the games will be looking for a new home starting in 2012, said Ted Wroth, who directs the games.

More than 100 events will be held for 21 different sports from August 13 through Nov. 6. Badminton, billiards, lawn bowling, softball, tennis and swimming will all take place at various venues in Montgomery County. Track and field, archery, basketball and volleyball will be held in Howard County locations.

Dates vary. For example, track and field events will take place on August 14 and 15, while swimming will be held on Sept. 17 and running on Nov. 6.

Maryland Senior Olympics events are open to all Maryland residents 50 and older. Cost to participate in one event is $25; each additional event costs $5. (Golf and bowling have additional fees.) The registration deadline is 30 days prior to your first event’s start date. No registrations will be accepted after Oct. 1.

To register, go to www.mdseniorolympics.org. For more information, e-mail info@mdseniorolympics.org or call (240) 777-8080.