August 20, 2014 - By Meg Peters
"Al" Raynor hauls his athletic build over the 3-meter high jump during the Michigan Senior Olympics held at the Lake Orion High School August 17. (click for larger version)
Review Staff Writer
Alan Raynor had his work cut out for him during the Michigan Senior Olympics (MSO) this past week at Lake Orion High School, however the defending state titleholder persevered.
"I must have been in a bit of a fog because I fouled on all four tries," Raynor said of his most practiced event, the long jump.
Contestants are only given four tries to launch from a piece of white tape into the sand pit, trying to jump the longest distance possible. Raynor, unfortunately, stepped a toe outside the line each time for his first event.
"The problem is I'm in the middle of the age group, I've got youth against me!" Raynor exclaimed. He has one more year in the 80 to 84 year old age group.
These small hiccups did not slow the 83-year-old athlete down, not one bit.
With confidence he entered the high jump, only slightly nervous with the minimal practice he dedicated to this event—all of ten minutes.
But, because the competition wasn't too strong (according to him), Raynor earned first place.
After a lengthy lunch break, Raynor moved on to the triple jump.
Focusing entirely on preventing a foul, he took his first jump.
"No foul, and my distance exceeded my state record from last year!"
Raynor was tempted to say, "that's it for today," but on reflection, took the second jump.
Another record breaker!
"This took the sting out of the performance in the long jump," he said. "In 14 years of competing, and over 150 medals, I've never fouled out of an event before."
Countrywide for 2014, Raynor is second in the triple jump, after the perennial champ from Oregon.
People from all over the state come for these games. About 230 athletes attended the Track and Field Event for the Michigan Senior Olympics. The U.S.A. Track and Field Association runs all of the events with certified officials and judges.
Over 1,000 seniors participated in events throughout the 2014 year.
This was a qualifying year for the National Senior Games, so the top four athletes in each age group will compete in nationals held next year in Minnesota.
"The key thing is to look good. Have the outfit, have the medals from last year. Life is good," Raynor said.
View the website michiganseniorolympics.org for more info.