On Saturday morning, athletes ages 50 and over traveled to Planview Stadium for a track and field competition — the final set of events in the 2019 Ardmore Senior Games. While some of the athletes were locals, others — such as Michelle Saye of Whitesboro, Tex. — traveled for the opportunity to compete.
Saye competed in two events, the 50-meter dash and the high jump, and though she was the only one in her age group, she was extremely pleased with her results. She achieved her third fastest racing time and is also thrilled with her high jump of 4’5.” These achievements are even more impressive considering she recently recovered from two knee surgeries.
“I had both my knees operated on in November,” Saye said. “I tore up the meniscus in both knees, but that was actually a blessing. My knees feel so much better than they ever did before the operation. I had some really good physical therapists and since that I’ve done exercises to strengthen my muscles ever since. Every day, I’m doing something because it’s true that if you don’t use it you lose it. And I’m not ready to lose it!”
Ironically, Saye almost did lose it over the years while she was raising a family. She first began high jumping when she was around 10 years old then continued all the way through high school and college — even once competing against 1988 Women’s High Jump Olympic Gold Medalist Louise Ritter while in college. But after college competitions she took a break for several years.
“I didn’t realize that there is actually a masters level I could have competed in in my 30s and 40s, but I just didn’t know it existed,” Saye said. “Then a friend told me about the senior games maybe two years ago, and I still thought there’s just no way I could compete at that level.”
However, after looking at some of the records set in the senior games, she decided she might just stand a chance after all. In addition to pushing her to train and compete, she said the friendships she’s made and the people she’s interacted with make the experience even greater.
“It’s not necessarily about the competition, it’s the camaraderie. That’s what was so amazing about my first competition,”Saye said. “They grouped two age groups together, and there were probably 12 women together. It wasn’t cutthroat. We all cheered each other on, supported each other, and gave each other pointers on how to jump better.”
Saye said she is so glad Ardmore offers this opportunity to those ages 50 and over and hopes to see more locals come out and enjoy the fun next year.