The 23rd annual Fulton Golden Games is set for April 26 to May 25, and will be held at venues throughout north Fulton County. Over the 15 days of the event, adults 50 and older will participate in a variety of athletic and recreational events, such as hiking, swimming, running and pickleball.
The Golden Games—hosted by the cities of Alpharetta, Atlanta, Johns Creek, Milton, Roswell and Sandy Springs—bring together older adults to compete for medals. And how the games have grown! Mary Rummell, City of Roswell, reported that, in the first years, just about 75 people competed, but these days, well over 400 athletes get involved.
“The event gives individuals 50 and over a chance to compete in a local Olympics, and to go on and compete in state and, eventually, national tournaments,” Rummell said. “Some of my favorite memories involve watching someone who has never been in a competition accomplish their goal, like a one-mile walk. When they cross the finish line, you can see how proud and excited they are.”
Medals are handed out at an awards luncheon at the end of the month, but it’s not all about competition. Rummell shared a story about a lady who couldn’t swim. “We coached her for the kickboard race. She was so proud that she finished the race, and the entire crowd cheered her on, even though she was the last one to finish. It was priceless!”
The primary purpose of the Golden Games is to help the area’s mature adults stay physically active and competitive. Deb Strycula, Sandy Springs Recreation and Parks, said that she believes that most seniors are always looking for recreational and athletic opportunities. “For me, it’s especially enjoyable to see and interact with the many seniors who return to participate in the Golden Games from year to year.”
Some seniors never miss the chance to compete in the Golden Games. “Dorothy Benson, the 95-year-oldsenior advocate who’s lent her name to the Dorothy Benson Senior Multipurpose Complex, will compete in her 23rd year of the games,” noted Dixie Pounds of the Alpharetta Recreation and Parks Department. “She’s never missed the event and always wins medals.”
The games offer an opportunity to meet new people, learn new leisure skills and find out about the many recreational activities available. According to Kevin McDonald, Alpharetta Adult Activity Center, the Golden Games have done just that. “Often, getting them in the door to our centers is eye opening for them. We get a lot of new people who come into our center for the first time and say, ‘I’ve driven by this place hundreds of times and didn’t know this was here.’”
Fulton Golden Games highlights include: a billiards tournament at Main Event Entertainment; a trivia challenge at Park Place at Newtown School; a bowling tournament at Stars and Strikes; and rock climbing and a virtual 5K at Ed Isakson YMCA. There are other planned game events, too, like bocce, canasta, indoor biathlon, table tennis, team line dancing and Wii bowling.
“The Golden Games impact the lives of so many people, and it creates lasting memories for each of them,” Rummell explained. “But most importantly, the competitors meet other people in the surrounding cities and form friendships while staying active and healthy.”
The 23rd annual Fulton Golden Games
• April 26-May 25
• Held at various North Fulton venues
• Gold, silver and bronze medals awarded in each men’s and women’s age division
• Presented by Fulton County and the cities of Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Milton, Roswell and Sandy Springs
• Call 678-297-6140 for a registration form. Registration fee is $20.
• Go to facebook.com/FultonGoldenGames/ to find out more.