5,000 Athletes Visit Vancouver for Americas Masters Games
For those suffering from Olympics withdrawal, another big sports competition is just getting underway in Vancouver.
More than 5,000 athletes from 52 countries are here to take part in the Americas Masters Games.
SportMedBC is a partner of the Americas Masters Games, assisting in coordination of the medical services team.
The athletes all have to meet a minimum age requirement of 30, but some go well beyond that.
"We have a 100-year-old sprinter from India, and we have a number of swimmers over 90," said Tom Jones, event director for the games.
However, he says most of the athletes fall within the 49 to 55 year age range.
Jones, himself a former Olympian who represented Canada in volleyball, says some of the athletes are ex-high-performance athletes, but the majority are casually involved in sports.
"It's competitive, absolutely, but it's a celebration of people all doing what they love. There will be different levels within each sport. The higher, more competitive folks will tier themselves and compete against each other."
The nine-day event features 22 sports including archery, hockey, triathlon, golf and tennis. Athletes can participate in any sport but are usually restricted to an age category.
"It's not really a fair fight for someone in karate to have a 30-year-old take on a 60-year-old."
All the events are free to attend, and there will also be events at Jack Poole Plaza throughout the duration of the games, August 26 - September 4. Beer gardens are also being set up all over the city.
Competition is already underway. The opening ceremony begins, Saturday, August 27 at Jack Poole Plaza at 6 p.m. PT.
Photo: Stewart Johnstone