While the Olympics, Paralympics, and Special Olympics, three of the largest global competitions in the world, provide excellent competitive athletic opportunities for a tremendous range of individuals, they tend to omit one sector of the population: older adults. To provide this population with a similar competitive outlet, in 1985 a group of seven men and women formed what was then conceived as the National Senior Olympics Organization (NSOO). Their goal was “to promote healthy lifestyles for adults through education, fitness and sport,” (website, “History”). The collaborative efforts of the NSOO and the then 33 states offering competitive games for seniors led to the first National Senior Olympic Games, held in St. Louis in 1987, which featured 2,500 athletes competing against one another in front of over 100,000 spectators.
Today, the NSOO has been rebranded as the National Senior Games Association (NSGA), a non-profit organization headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The NSGA consists of 49 members from each state, with the exception of North Dakota, and one associate member, that National Veterans’ Golden Age games. Every two years they host the National Senior Games, a 19-sport event featuring thousands of men and women age 50 and over who have qualified through state competitions to compete on the national level. Currently, the Games are “the largest multi-sport event in the world for seniors” (website “History”). The NSGA serves as a resource center for its athletes, as well as all seniors looking to lead healthier lives, by providing information on the Games, state-level competitions and events, and general knowledge on fitness and nutrition for seniors.