Allen Elliott recently returned from the 55 plus 2014 Canada Summer Games bringing home a silver medal in discus and javelin and a bronze in shot put.
He stopped by the Review office to share the experience of attending the Games held at Sherwood Park in Strathcona County. As always, he said the Games were exhilarating and fun.
“It was absolutely tremendous,’ he said. “There were people from all across Canada and this year there were more participants and more visitors than usual. There was close to 3,000 people.”
Elliott, an 80-something volunteer Handi-bus driver was thrilled to be a medal winner, but simply participating was quite a thrill, he said.
“A couple of my daughters and son-in-laws watched me throw the javelin,” he said. “Having your family there; that was very nice.”
Last year, Elliott brought home a gold medal in shot put, silver medals in javelin and discus and a bronze in the 100 metre race from the Alberta Summer Games.
The friendly senior, who looks years younger than his chronological age enjoys the Games each and every year.
“Participating – that’s what it’s about. If you’re there and you’re participating, that’s the main thing. Anytime you’re active, especially if you’re a senior, that’s a good thing.”
Elliott began attending the senior games in 1998. At that time he lived near Sylvan Lake and was on a slo pitch team made up of players in the Bentley area. However, the team quit entering the senior games when they reached the over 70-age category. Elliott, however, continued to enter, competing in other track and field events. Over the years, he has usually brought home a collection of medals, but insists the Games are about so much more than winning.
“The camaraderie; that’s number one,” he said. “You meet some wonderful people there. And the whole program at the Games is just wonderful.”
This year he especially enjoyed watching 101 year-old Florence Storch throw the javelin.
Storch was hoping for a gold medal this year, but was beat out by 87-year-old Doreen Erskine from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Erskine won the gold with a throw of 5.24 and Storch took silver after a throw of 3.18 metres.
Elliott greatly admires Storch, both as an athlete and generally as a wonderful person.
“She is a grand lady,” he said.
The Games provide a venue for Canadians 55 years of age and older to pursue greater levels of physical, social, intellectual and creative achievement through friendly competition and participation.
Now that the Games are over for another year, Elliott is already gearing up for next competition.
He smiled as he recalled what Storch says after the close of each competition.
“She always says ‘see you next year,’” he said.
No doubt, Elliott has adopted the same optimistic attitude and will be there next year to bring home a few medals, but, most importantly, enrich his life through friends and healthy competition.