Lebanon Senior Center kicks off Winter Olympics

February 13, 2018

The Lebanon Senior Center kicked off its 2018 Winter Olympic games on Feb. 12 with an Opening Ceremony torch relay.

Like many of the activities that will be done at the Senior Center games, the torch ceremony was modified into a safer activity as the “flames” were made of colored paper. The games will run until today, Wednesday, starting each day at 10 a.m., and capping with a closing ceremony potluck from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Games include such activities including shuffleboard curling, cross-country crossword, and freestyle ski poetry. Due to weather, and slippery conditions outside, the games were confined to the center’s auditorium.

Six seniors showed up for the opening ceremony. Brookdale Assisted Living Facility was planning on bringing its residents, but their bus broke down, said Lebanon Senior Center Activities Director Rebecca Wirfs.

However, the games must go on, so the center held the opening ceremony torch relay with those six.

Tammy Barker, one of the early participants Monday morning, took part in the opening relay and had the honor of lighting the “torch.”

Barker heard about the games at the senior center’s weekly banquet last week, which she attended as part of her Seniors on the Go (SoGo) group. The event sounded fun so she decided to participate. She is most looking forward to the ice skating competition, where one participant sits in a wheelchair, and the other dances around them.

Barker has enlisted the help of a partner to train with, and while they haven’t practiced a routine yet, they did select Harry Belafonte’s “Banana Boat Song (Day-O)” for their musical selection.

“When that song comes on, everything stops,” Barker said.

On Monday morning, following the opening relay, the first event was ski jump pose, where competitors posed mimicked the position of a ski jumper for as long as they could.

Joyce Ulmer, took second in the competition with a time of 1 minute, 33 seconds.

“I could have kept going, but I don’t care if I win a prize,” Ulmer said. “I’m just here for fun.”

While that event was a fun activity for participants, it also served to help identify seniors with balance issues and are at risk of falling, Wirfs said, and as a way to help seniors get some physical activity.

“It’s encouraging fitness and exercise and any age and any ability,” Wirfs said noting that any activity could be altered slightly to accommodate for any physical limitation. “People aren’t motivated to exercise. It also bring the spirit of togetherness that the Olympics brings to mind.”

While there will be no overall winner crowned for the games, each first-, second- and third-place participants will be recognized at the potluck on Thursday afternoon.