July 16, 2009

"Burning Bright" By Christian Davis and Sue Teggart C& G Sports Writers

Burning Bright
Senior Olympians compete in 30th anniversary of the games
Christian Davis and Sue Teggart C & G Sports Writers

Read the full C & G article, featuring Clara Gamble in weightligting, here: Burning Bright

Pickleball news quoted from "Burning Bright" posted here:

In a pickle Pickleball, which was played at the Auburn Hills Community Center, is one of the more popular sports in the MSO. Described as a combination of badminton, tennis and Ping-Pong, pickleball is played with a wooden paddle and a perforated plastic ball on a badminton-size court with a low net.

The July 7 women's doubles competition brought together 40 players ages 50 to 84 from as near Rochester Hills and as far as West Virginia. Bloomfield Hills residents Sook Wilkinson and Nancy Roberston won the gold medal in the 50-54 age division. "For me, this is my first time, so I just came with no expectations and to just enjoy and have fun," Wilkinson said. "It's nice to see good competition and meet people."

Although it was Wilkinson's first Senior Olympics, Robertson had already competed in the Michigan Senior Olympics Winter Games Festival, where she won the gold medal in her age division in doubles. Robertson, who began playing pickleball last July, persuaded Wilkinson to give the sport a try soon after. Since then, they've been part of a trend that the USA Pickleball Association calls one of the fastest growing sports in America. "The competition is just getting better and better because pickleball is spreading," Robertson said about the top-notch competition on display at the Senior Olympics. "Since (last) July, it has spread unbelievably."

For Hilda Weber of Rochester, who learned pickleball after years of playing tennis, this was also her first MSO. Her partner, Dai Lin Shu, a Rochester Hills resident, had also competed in the Winter Festival and earned a silver medal in the women's 55-59 division. "It's the competition that's exciting, and anything with a racquet, I like," Weber said. "Staying healthy and getting exercise is fun."

Weber and Shu also won gold medals in their division. On top of the fun had by all, the main focus was the health benefit. "It's been really fun," Wilkinson said about the event. "It's all just to keep us moving and active, and this is a good way to do it." Other gold medalists were Jan Allard of Rochester and Donna Clancy of Royal Oak in the 60-64 division, and Carol Elias of Rochester and Bonnie Heinz of Arizona in the 65-69 division.