Local Senior Olympian Scores as Foul Shooter
Larry Adamson didn’t participate in sports much as a youngster, but now he’s making up for lost time as a New Jersey Senior Olympian.
The Barnegat Township resident recently participated in the senior games in Woodbridge, the town where he lived before moving to Southern Ocean County two years ago.
Adamson took a gold medal in foul shooting, hitting on 19 of his 20 attempts. He also came in second in bocce and third in field goal accuracy.
“For the basketball competitions I was in the ages 65 to 69,” he said. “Even though I was 64, my 65th birthday is in December, so I guess they figured I was close enough to that age. For bocce, I was in a group from age 50 to 69. I guess they don’t get as many bocce participants as they do for basketball.”
He said that in field goal accuracy, competitors attempt shots from various distances and angles.
“You take shots from the foul line, top of the key and the corners,” said Adamson. “You get one point for a lay-up and five points for one from the top of the key.”
Adamson said he started competing in the Senior Olympics seven years ago after retiring as a guidance supervisor at Sayreville High School.
“I did not have an athletic background,” he said. “When you’re one of seven kids being raised by a single father and grandparents, you grow up fast,” he said. “You had to work and help out, so there wasn’t always a lot of time to go out and play.”
This year marked the 31st anniversary that a group of men and women formed the National Senior Olympics Organization to promote healthly lifestyles through education, fitness and sport. The first National Senior Olympic Games was held in St. Louis in 1987 with 2,500 participants. Since then, each state has its own Senior Olympic games.
The New Jersey games offer 20 events.
“You’ve got horseshoes and miniature golf, events that you’re not going to see in the real Olympic games,” Adamson said. “But you also have fencing, swimming and racquetball, which require more physical ability. The youngest competitors are 50, but I’ve heard some Senior Olympics have had people who have reached 100.”
Adamson said he encourages others from the area to participate.
“It seems like not many know about the Senior Olympics in South Jersey,” he said. “Most of the competitors are from north or central Jersey. I’m sure there are people living here who would love to compete. It’s mostly about having fun and enjoying good competition.”
— Eric Englund