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Oldest State Games Competitor Still Young at Heart

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RALEIGH — It is not easy to run or play any sport in the summer heat, but that is exactly what thousands of athletes did this weekend in the Triangle. The State Games of North Carolina brings out people of all ages and abilities to compete in 16 events.

Some of the athletes have remarkable stories to tell. Juanita Brookover is one of them.

The 85-year-old Asheboro native took to the field Sunday to give it her all in the shot put and discus competitions.

"You just keep going," says Brookover. "If you don't, the old rocking chair will get you. You can't have that."

Brookover may be the oldest of the 11,000 athletes competing at the games, but she definitely is one of the youngest at heart.

She is so dedicated, Brookover even got her 55-year-old daughter to take a throw.

"I didn't have to say anything. She looked at all my medals and she started," says Brookover.

Over the years, Brookover has recovered from open heart surgery, a hysterectomy and eye surgery. In the past year she added a pacemaker and bowel surgery to the list.

Brookover is not only competing for the third year -- she is winning, adding two more first place medals to her collection. And for everyone sitting at home, Brookover has one question.

"Why aren't you out here," she asks.

When Brookover received a pacemaker in October, doctors originally wanted to put it in on her right side. Brookover asked that they place it on her left side because she uses her right arm for throwing, and did not want to miss this year's competition.

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Ericka Lewis, Reporter
Chad Flowers, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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