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Physically Active Seniors Prove Age Is Nothing But Number

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FAYETTEVILLE — Some seniors are going for the gold, and proving age cannot stand in the way of Olympic medals. They showed off their fitness at the Mid-Carolina Senior Games on Wednesday.

Viola George, 85, is trying to reel in the gold. She already has more than 100 medals. Over the last 14 years, she has taken part in just about every event at the Mid-Carolina Senior Games.

"As long as you are active, you are young, but when you aren't active, you are old and don't want to do nothing," George says.

More than 400 participants are competing in the Mid-Carolina Senior Games. The games are about encouraging seniors to remain physically active and to lead healthy lifestyles.

Martha Avery is recovering from a broken shoulder. For her, the competition is perfect therapy.

"It does me good to get out," Avery says.

Bill Smith says exercise and his healthy lifestyle are his secrets to feeling great.

"Good clean living I guess," Smith says. "I never drank a beer in my life or had liquor. I don't smoke."

The athletes have to be 55 years old to participate in the Games. Many of the competitors can keep up with players more than half their age.

"I just love it," says 73-year-old George McNeil. "At my age, anything is fun!"

Qualifiers at the Games will go on to compete at the state level and then possibly at the National Senior Games in 2001.

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Melissa Buscher, Reporter
Michael Joyner, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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