By Bryan Boggiano
Eight Coral Springs residents flex their muscles and get ready to show off their athleticism.
Also known as the Senior Olympics, they will compete in the Senior National Games May 10-23 in Fort Lauderdale.
Participating athletes from Coral Springs include Brian Hankerson, 63; Carlos Urrutia, 64 years old; Scott Boyer, 62; Kirk Ellington, 53; Edward Mease, 73; Andrea Nagy Rowe, 51; Marilyn Rule-Heinrich, 52; and Edouard Vecchio, 72 years old.
Another resident, William Otto, withdrew due to injury. The 89-year-old would have competed in the 5km and 10km cycling time trials.
The National Senior Games Association hosts the Senior Olympics every two years; however, they postponed the 2021 games due to COVID-19.
“We had to pivot and adapt,” said Sarah Henrikson, head of press accounts. “These games were difficult to navigate as everyone slowly adapted to the new changes.”
Henrikson estimates that 12,000 athletes will compete in 22 teams and individual sports at the 2022 Games.
Coral Springs Talk caught up with Hankerson and Ellington ahead of the Senior Games.
At 63, Hankerson will compete in several track and field events, including the 50-metre, 100-metre and 200-metre sprint and the long, high and triple jump.
Hankerson was coaching youth sports when he first heard of Masters tournaments and since then has competed in about four Senior Games competitions.
At this year’s Games, Hankerson hopes to continue to bond with the athletes he meets along the way and set personal bests.
For athletes working hard to achieve their goals, Hankerson shared some motivation.
“Enjoy the trip; work hard and you will get the results you desire,” he said. “Nothing is impossible with dedication, commitment and hard work. Never limit yourself.
At 53, Ellington will compete in cycling events, but he did not specify which ones.
Ellington said he has always been active, riding a bike since he was 3 years old. He was part of the UF Cycling Club, participated in biathlons and triathlons and tried mountain biking.
“I’m excited for nationals, but I’m more just seeing how I perform than being competitive,” he said. “For me, it’s more about personal experience and fun than trying to win.”
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A graduate in journalism from the University of Florida, Bryan is pursuing his master’s degree in geosciences at Florida International University. He has a strong interest in weather, entertainment and journalism.