How to Get Involved in Michigan’s Senior Olympics 

No matter how many candles are on your cake, there’s a way to turn your love for sports and friendly competition into a spot in the Olympics – Michigan’s Senior Olympics, that is. This nonprofit group that is focused on fitness after age 50 has been around for more than four decades and is a great opportunity for middle-aged and older people across both of the state’s peninsulas to make their mark in individual or group sports in the organization’s summer and winter games. Athletes can even go on to represent Michigan if they qualify for the National Senior Games.  

“Anyone is welcome to do the Senior Olympics. It doesn’t matter what your skill level is,” said Becky Ridky, executive director of the Michigan Senior Olympics. “Yes, we do have athletes that will train year-round and are really serious about their sport. But we also have so many seniors that will come in who maybe haven’t participated since high school or want to try something completely new and have never even done that event before It’s just such an amazing atmosphere to be a part of. We try to make sure there’s something for everyone to do.” 

Whether you find your sporting sweet spot as part of a basketball team, astride a bike, or playing on a shuffleboard court, there is a long list of events to compete in when you join the Michigan Senior Olympics. For a complete list of summer and winter games, check the website here. 

Some summer sport examples: 

  • Archery 
  • Badminton 
  • Basketball (3-on-3 and individual free-throw or 3-point contests) 
  • Bowling 
  • Cycling 
  • Disc golf 
  • Pickleball 
  • Swimming 
  • Softball 
  • Tennis 
  • Track and field 
  • Racewalking 
  • Road racing (5K, 10K) 
  • Soccer 
  • Triathlon 
  • Volleyball 

Senior Olympics

Michigan Senior Olympics membership. Becoming a member of the Michigan Senior Olympics is easy and inexpensive. Membership is $25 per person. You can become a member by registering online, calling the organization’s office at (248) 608-0250 and signing up over the phone, or calling to request registration paperwork be sent to your home. Because this is a nonprofit group, it draws its revenue from membership dues but also from donations from businesses and individuals. 

Event registration. Athlete registration for the Michigan summer games begins in May. The games are slated to take place in August and September, mostly at venues in Oakland and Macomb counties in southeast Michigan. Because Michigan is an “open” state for these events, athletes do not have to be Michigan residents to participate. The summer games are also a stepping stone for athletes who want to compete at a higher level. For example, this summer’s Michigan Senior Olympics events are qualifiers for the 2023 National Senior Games to be held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

Age categories. Athletes are placed into age categories separated by five-year increments. Athletes join the group represented by the age they will be on Dec. 31 of the current year. For team sports, the age of the youngest member determines the age group for the team.  

A healthy history. More than 1,000 people are expected to participate in this year’s statewide events. This represents a huge shift from the nonprofit’s first events in 1979, when a small number of athletes gathered at the Pontiac Silverdome. Throughout the years, the goal behind these events has remained the same: offering sporting events that are focused on fitness and improving the quality of life. The Michigan Senior Olympics was designed to send the message that developing sports skills can be done at any age. The hope is that people find the healthier they become, the happier they are and the fewer health care costs they incur. 

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Photo credit: Michigan Senior Olympics

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