Golden Athletes


After hearing about all the medals that Robert Walker has won in Senior Olympics events over the years, we decided to look for other inspiring older adults who continue to compete in athletics well into their golden years.

It turns out there are numerous senior athletic competitions across the US, and tens of thousands of participants every year. Texas has their own annual Senior Games in San Antonio and the National Senior Games takes place every two years at a rotating locale. (The next one will be held in June 2017, so start training folks!) Participants in the National Senior Games must be 50 years or older, and the events are divided into age groups with five-year intervals. Past games have included 20 different events, including Archery, Badminton, Bowling, Cycling, Golf, Horseshoes, Pickleball, Race Walk, Racquetball, Road Race, Shuffleboard, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Track and Field, Triathlon, Basketball, Softball, and Volleyball.

You don’t have to participate in Senior Olympics to stay active as you age. Check out this video of 100-year-old Ida Keeling:


Photo and Video credit: New York Times

Roller Spotlight – June 2016: Meet Robert


Each month we highlight one of our Golden Rollers with a photo and short interview. Our conversations explore personal histories and address how staying active has benefitted their health and well-being as they grow older. This month we meet Robert Walker.

If you walk past the Conley-Guerrero Senior Activity Center in East Austin on any given weekday morning, there’s a good chance you’ll see 82-year-old Robert Walker playing basketball in the courtyard. For nearly an hour you could watch him line up 10 feet out from the baseline and sink shot after shot, nothing but net. What you would not see are the 100-plus medals Robert has hanging in his home from winning Senior Olympics events.


Name: Robert Walker

Age: 82

Hometown: Austin, TX

Bike Experience: Biked while growing up in east Austin. Doesn’t ride much now.


Golden Rollers: “You’re 82-years-old?”


Robert Walker: “Mhm. The Lord blessed me. I just love exercising.”


GR:  “You’re a sharpshooter. I’ve seen you [playing basketball]. How long do you shoot for?”

RW:  “I’ll shoot for an hour. I’ll shoot 20 straight. I’ll shoot 30-something straight. I can’t shoot as far out as I used to though. I turned down a scholarship in college. I was buying a new car, and at 26-years-old, I was buying a house.  And I worked 8 hours [a day] and was taking 17 hours [of classes] a semester. It was impossible. I had to turn down the scholarship to play basketball… I didn’t have the time.”


GR: “You’ve stayed active.”


RW:  “All my life.  For over 50 years I cut the yard for the church, didn’t charge them anything, just exercise.”


GR: “When did you start doing the Senior Games?”


RW: “I came down [to Conley-Guerrero] in 1994. A few months later in ‘95, they took me down to San Antone to enter, that’s when I got into the Senior Olympics. I was 62 when I went in. I stayed in it 14 years and won a whole lot of medals in 5 different sports. I won over 100 medals.  They give you medals for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. I won 50-something 1st place in 5 different sports.”


GR: “Do you have all the medals?”


RW: “Yeah, the medals are home hanging on the wall.”  


Listen to the full interview here: