There is no age limit on the thrill of competition, the excitement of winning and the golden opportunity of making strangers into friends.
Just ask Allen Elliott, an 80-something volunteer handibus driver in Rimbey.
Elliott recently returned from the 55 Plus 2013 Summer Games sporting a gold medal in shot put, silver medals in javelin and discus and a bronze in 100 metre.
Elliott looks years younger than his chronological age and is as proud as punch about his medal wins. However, he stressed, winning isn’t everything.
“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 did not let his artificial knees keep him from competing in the 100 metre run.
“I took off in the race and I noticed there were only two people ahead of me. I decided then that I’d better start taking the race more seriously,” he said with a smile.
A knee replacement certainly didn’t keep Elliott out of the race, nor does his age keep him from staying active and helping others. As well as being a volunteer driver for the Rimbey Handi Van, Elliott helps operate Serenity Pet Shelter on his farm located south of Rimbey.
(He received a Helping Hands award at Sylvan Lake’s Volunteer Impact Gala in April for his work with Serenity Pet Shelter Society.)
“We live in a wonderful world and we need to be the best we can possibly be,” he said.
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.”
Elliott is hopeful two of his daughters whom he says are athletic will eventually attend the senior games with him.
“We’ll see. I’m going to work on it. It’s a dream that I would like to see happen.”
The Alberta 55 Plus Games held in Barrhead and Westlock from July 25 to 28, included more than 1,000 participants and 800 volunteers.
The Games provide a venue for Albertans 55 years of age and older to pursue greater levels of physical, social, intellectual and creative achievement through friendly competition and participation.