A little over two weeks ago, R.G. Wolf and Gary Baldwin represented the city of Cleveland in the National Senior Olympics in Cleveland, Ohio.
The next National Senior Olympics will be hosted by Minneapolis, in 2015, and both Wolf and Baldwin hope to attend.
Qualifiers for the Senior Olympics are held in even-numbered years, while the actual event takes place on the odd years.
For the 85-year old R.G. Wolf, track and field is something he has been active in for the majority of his life, only taking a break during the years that he was helping to raise his children.
“From 1977 on, every year I have been somewhere. As far as New Zealand to Syracuse, N.Y., and all the biggies in between,” Wolf said.
Competing in his third Senior Games, Wolf was highly active in track and field competition and participated in 13 different events, performing so well that he came home with both a gold and silver medal.
“The best I had done previous to this in the Senior Olympics was a third place finish three years ago in California,” Wolf commented.
The gold medal came from the 4×100 meter relay, in which Wolf ran the third leg of the race. The silver medal came from the pole vault — The pole vault only had three entries from Wolf’s age group and he is the only active pole vaulter in Tennessee who is over the age of 80.
What makes Wolf’s accomplishments that much more impressive is that they occurred only one year after he had broken his hip.
After a discus throwing accident Wolf had to have three screws set in his hip.
Always an active person, Wolf described the injury as having tried his patience.
“It’s like that saying in physics, a body in motion tends to keep in motion. So active people tend to want to get back to activity as soon as possible,” Wolf explained. “It’s important to stay active not only for your body, but for your mind. I do four things to the extreme every day — I take my body to the physical extreme, mental extreme, emotional extreme, and spiritual extremes.”
Wolf has also competed in numerous events with the U.S. Track and Field Masters where he has won over a dozen gold medals, as well as the World Masters Association.
The 85-year old track star is looking forward to the 2015 Senior Olympics in Minneapolis for one very special reason.
“The Wolf family cannot wait until 2015 because we used to live up in Minneapolis. My No. 3 son Brian, who is a nationally ranked decathlete, says that he is going to compete at the same time that I do. My grandson, who is a nationally ranked college decathlete, is going to be there watching us. It will be quite a family affair,” Wolf said.
According to Wolf, the oldest track and field athlete was a 101-year-old man who competed in the long jump competition.
While Wolf was burning up the track, Gary Baldwin was holding his own on the golf links.
“I had a good time, met a lot of good people, and really enjoyed myself,” Baldwin commented.
Baldwin finished the three-day Olympic tournament with a score 229, which was enough to earn him a bronze medal. The silver medalist finished just one point under Baldwin, while the gold medal winner finished with a score of 223.
“It feels really good to have won bronze,” Baldwin said. “I still feel like I was a little short — I could’ve gotten second with one less stroke and I was six strokes behind first place. I had a little slip-up but overall I’m pleased with how I played.”
According to Baldwin, the participants range form 50 years old and up, and were divided into different age groups. A total of 38 athletes competed in his age division.
“I enjoy competing in the games because you get to meet different people from all over the country,” Baldwin explained. “It gives the seniors something to look forward to and helps them stay in fairly good condition.”
This was Baldwin’s fourth time in the National Senior Olympics.
Tennessee’s group of more than 670 athletes was the second largest at this year’s competition, only coming in behind the host state of Ohio.
The event saw some 13,000 athletes participate in 18 to 20 different sports over a span of 16 days.