ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The National Senior Games got underway Friday in Albuquerque as more than 13,000 athletes poured into the city. They all have a story and they all have one goal in mind: a gold medal.
“When you jump on a plane and get off the plane and you go, ‘Yeah, I’m here. Let’s play,'” says Lester Boone. These Senior Games competitors didn’t waste any time, hitting the courts for practice.
Jim Harrington, 79, took home the gold for racquetball in last year’s games in Alabama. The North Carolina man’s looking to do the same thing this year. “This is serious serious stuff for an old man,” Harrington says.
This time in a new age division, against 80 to 85-year-olds, because he has a birthday coming soon. “You move up. You move, and pretty soon you’re playing with the big boys, and that’s what I like,” Harrington says.
Harrington says he’s been training three times a week to prepare. “Either playing racquetball or pedaling a bicycle or a rowing machine,” he says.
But with thousands of competitors from across the nation in one place, he says the butterflies are acting up. “Not really knowing who you’re going play, how they’re going to play, wondering if you’ve done enough leading up to it,” Harrington says.
But they all have the same thing on their minds: victory. “Looking to take it, I’m going to take it, have to I have to take it,” Boone says, and the first to 15 is one step closer to gold.
Racquetball competition starts on Saturday. The softball and bowling tournaments started the official action Friday. The senior games run until June 25.
The mayor says in addition to the thousands of athletes in town, the city estimates another 25,000 people will be here to cheer them on.
To view the full competition schedule, click here.