WVSU Geri Olympics Founder Invited to Present at Glasgow Conference


WVSU Geri Olympics Founder Invited to Present at Glasgow Conference

INSTITUTE, W.Va. -- West Virginia State University’s Geri Olympics program is again expanding its international presence. Dr. Ted Muilenburg, WVSU associate professor of Health, Human Performance and Leisure Studies, and Mr. Bill Woodrum, associate dean of the WVSU Extension Service, have been invited to present at the World Congress on Active Aging Aug. 13-17 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Geri Olympics was initiated 25 years ago by Muilenburg as a program to promote wellness, active living and quality of life for nursing home residents, through competitive sports, teamwork and intergenerational programming. Athletes, along with their caregivers, train and practice for months, in advance of an event.

In the quarter century of its existence, Geri Olympics has served approximately 3,500 nursing home residents, with 5,000 volunteers as support staff. More than 40 nursing care facilities, assisted living centers and skilled nursing care units in rural hospitals have sponsored teams. Muilenburg conducted a recent study that showed the positive impact of the program.

Geri Olympics has been an amazing event that has been planned by West Virginia State University students, faculty, health care professionals, community volunteers from more 20 agencies, as well as the nursing home residents,” Muilenburg said. “The conference in Glasgow, Scotland will call attention to this unique program which promotes wellness, active living and quality of life for a segment of the population that is often forgotten. The true value of Geri Olympics is in seeing the smiles and excitement of the nursing home residents as they enthusiastically compete, socialize and enjoy being part of their facility’s team, in spite of their disabilities and age.”

Woodrum added, “Geri Olympics is another example of the great programs presented through leveraging the research-based knowledge of WVSU faculty with the skill in program delivery of the Extension Service. WVSU Extension Service, as the University’s primary outreach arm, is proud to have partnered with Dr. Muilenburg for the past several years.”

The Glasgow conference is not the first time Geri Olympics has gone international. WVSU signed a memorandum of understanding with Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, in 2004. From that agreement the International Geri Olympics was established as a joint venture.

Geri Olympics competitions are held locally each spring at the South Charleston Recreation Center, where athletes compete in bowling, basketball, marksmanship, golf, horseshoes, candle blowing, obstacle course, triathlon and wheelchair races. Traveling teams from as far as Morgantown and Lewisburg compete in this geriatric fitness program.


Candle blowing

Clothes pin stacking

Shooting sports target

Geri Olympics at the South Charleston Recreation Center

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