August 14, 2013 - By Katelyn Winkler
Review Staff Writer
Lake Orion High School hosted the Michigan Senior Olympics on Sunday, showcasing athletic prowess of competitors 50 years and older.
The games gave the athletes the chance to compete in track and field events and have fun while staying active.
Representing Lake Orion was Alan Raynor (80-84 age group) and Mike Brinkmann (70-74).
Raynor proved to be one of the top competitors in any age group, winning four gold medals in the 200 meters, high jump, long jump and triple jump.
Brinkman won gold in the 5k race-walk and silver in the 1500 meter race-walk.
"There's tons of opportunities for youth to do different leagues and programs but there's not very much for the seniors," Marketing and Sponsorship Director Becky Ricky said. "The seniors are, really, the largest growing population and this is a great opportunity for them to get out and be active. A lot of them have been participating in these events since they were kids so it gives them a chance to keep participating in the sports that they love."
Raynor ran middle distance races in track during high school and through his time at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. He started competing in field events, long jump and high jump, at the age of 69.
This is his 13th year participating in the Senior Olympics and he currently holds the state records for his age group in both of his field events.
"I do the absolute minimum. I take the entire winter off and then come out and fuss around. I only train about 10 times before the meet by doing the [high and long] jumps," Raynor said. "I like to stick it to those old guys."
Brinkmann participated in two events, 1500-meter race walk and the 5k-race walk, and medaled in both. He also participated in the ceremonial torch running at the beginning of the games.
One of the oldest athletes that came out to LOHS was Jack Hippie, an 89 year old from South Lyon.
"This keeps me in shape," Hippie said. "Otherwise, I'd be watching TV and getting nothing done. I'm going to be 90 in March so I want to be in as good of shape as I can. I've traveled to a lot of states competing for MSO and USA track and field."
Prior to the MSO games, the 2013 National Senior Olympics took place in Cleveland, Ohio. Michigan had 530 athletes out of 12,000 competitors.
Many of the participants of Sundays MSO competed in Ohio and came back to work their way to the 2015 Nationals.
"The athletes have the chance to qualify for nationals, which happens every other year. This is actually a non-qualifying year. Next year they will get the chance to qualify for nationals, which will be in Minnesota," Risky said.
"It's so inspiring to see the seniors out and about and how active everybody is and how much fun they all have participating. We have athletes that train year-round and others that train for their personal best and it's just really fun to see."