Seniors to “go for the gold” at 26th annual Geri Olympics

Contact: Dr. Donna Simon
(304) 766-3363
April 11, 2013
Seniors to “go for the gold” at 26th annual Geri Olympics
INSTITUTE, W.Va. – Seniors from across the state will “go for the gold” at the 26th annual West Virginia Geri Olympics Friday, April 19, from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the South Charleston Community Center. More than 200 nursing home resident athletes are scheduled to compete in a series of low-impact activities.

Launched by West Virginia State University (WVSU) in 1986, Geri Olympics promotes healthy living, involvement, exercise and socialization. Athletes often train for months to compete in wheelchair races and relays, marksmanship, golf putting, bowling, an obstacle course, horseshoes, candle blowing, clothes pin stacking, and corn hole.

“Geri Olympics has been recognized and accepted as a model for promoting active living, quality of life and social engagement for residents of nursing care facilities,” said Dr. Ted Muilenburg, program director and an assistant professor of Health, Human Performance & Leisure Studies at WVSU. “The program helps reduce the side effects of sedentary living and promotes involvement with children, families and the community.”

The success of the annual competition led to the creation of a traveling version called Geri Olympics on the Move, which brings small-scale events to nursing homes throughout the state. A partnership with Charles University in Prague established the International Geri Olympics. A group of American competitors, called Team USA, attended the inaugural event in 2008. Plans are underway to bring a team to the next international event in Scotland in 2014. Representatives from Scotland will be present at South Charleston to discuss planning and development of the international event.

Sponsors include WVSU Extension Service, Mylan Inc., the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau, Marshall University School of Pharmacy, West Virginia University School of Pharmacy, and Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College.          

The South Charleston Community Center is located at 601 Jefferson Road in South Charleston. The event is free and open to the public.
West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multigenerational institution, located in Institute, WV. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
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