Senior Olympians represent Eagle County, state
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado – The Vail Valley harbors many developing athletes, from skiers and boarders to cyclists, runners and more. Today, four of the valley’s more mature athletes will represent the state of Colorado in singles, doubles and mixed doubles tennis at the Senior Olympics, which is held at Stanford University in California this year.
Sandi Carter, part-time resident of Vail, will compete in women’s doubles with Mary Ann Koson of Singletree. The pair began playing together last year, and were able to qualify during the Colorado state finals in Greeley, where they placed second in their age division, Carter said. They have been playing together regularly this summer in preparation for the games this week.
They will play two matches today and, if all goes according to plan, will play one match every day until the final match and medals ceremony on Saturday, she said.
Carter has been playing tennis for 30 years, starting as an adult after having her second child, she said. Koson also began playing as an adult, Carter said.
This is the first time either woman has attempted to participate in the Senior Olympics, but they don’t plan on coming home early, she said.
Kitty Gwathmey, an Arrowhead resident, is another local representative that will play tennis at the games, entering the competition with some serious experience in Senior Olympic tennis. After competing in four tournaments over the last 16 years, Gwathmey has earned gold, silver and bronze medals in women’s doubles, and a bronze medal in singles, she said.
She will play her first two singles matches on Friday along with a mixed doubles match with her partner Richard Lesley from East Vail, she said. The last match for both women’s singles and mixed doubles is scheduled for the following Tuesday.
Gwathmey said this year’s games are going to be particularly challenging because she missed an age cut-off by two months, which will make her one of the oldest in her age group.
Gwathmey loves participating in the games, and she said that there are all kinds of events, not just tennis.
There will be around 20,000 competitors in the Senior Olympics this year, she said. According to the games’ Web site, people will compete in 18 medal sports. Events have both male and female divisions, and include age divisions for competitors ages 50 and up.
Carter said that she participates because it is a great way to stay in shape.
“When I have something on the line, life moments are more epic,” she said.
“This is a fun experience,” Gwathmey said, “I wish more people (from the Vail area) would do it.”
Visit the Senior Olympics Web site at http://www.2009seniorgames.org.
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