Formed in 1991, the Massachusetts Senior Games kindled the Olympic spirit and ignited the flame for thousands of older adults across the Commonwealth.
The Games gives them the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities throughout the year. Massachusetts Senior Games began with a "Fun Walk" in Forest Park, Springfield, Massachusetts. One hundred fifty spirited seniors crossed the finish line in the fall of 1991 and the "Games Began!"
The following year 250 senior athletes gathered in June at Springfield College to participate in eleven events in track and field, swimming, tennis, and others. Many qualified for the USNSSO National Senior Sports Classic held in Baton Rouge in May, 1993.
1995 marked the first Winter Games held at Mt. Wachusett, Princeton, Massachusetts and at the Wallace Civic Center in Fitchburg. Over 150 athletes participated in giant slalom, cross country and ice hockey.
The growth of the Massachusetts Senior Games is directly tied to a base of committed sponsors. Bank of Boston, the first corporate sponsor, became presenting sponsor in the Fall of 1991. Later, the Executive Office of Elder Affairs and US Health Care became co-sponsors. Harvard Community Health Plan, Pilgrim Health Care and Secure Horizons have also joined our team. Our current Presenting Sponsor is Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts. From the beginning, the host site sponsor, Springfield College, provided superior facilities for the summer Massachusetts Senior Games.
Each year the number of athletes, events, volunteers and supporters grows. Today, more than 1,100 athletes, grouped in five year age categories, may enter a spectrum of 23 summer events, 7 winter events, and an Olympic Fitness Walk. They may also attend educational programs and participate in a series of clinics and workshops held all over the state throughout the year.
Keeping pace with the increase in number of participants, the number of volunteers has risen from approximately 50 in 1991 to over 200 by 1995. Support, too, has grown dramatically. Many corporations, small & medium-sized businesses and other non-profit organizations presently support the Massachusetts Senior Games.
We are very proud of our growth; we've come a long way since the first lighting of the torch and parade of athletes!