Majority of Senior Games events kick off this weekend in South Sound

After a decade of being president of the Washington State Senior Games, Jack Kiley has helped the games become one of the nation’s leaders in event offerings.

There are the traditional sports, such as track and field and swimming, which will draw the most competitors for this weekend’s events in South Sound. And there are nontraditional sports at the Senior Games for athletes 50 and older. Rock climbing was new to the games last year, and trap shooting was added this year.

Kiley said he receives inquiries annually about adding events, but he noted “90 times out of 100, (the event) doesn’t happen.”

“It comes out of the woods because someone wants to do it,” he said.

Three events — rock climbing at the Warehouse Rock Gym in downtown Olympia, and the hammer throw and weight throw at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey — kick off this weekend’s schedule.

Most of the 23 events will take place Friday through Sunday. Trap shooting, shuffleboard, softball, ballroom dancing and archery happened earlier this month in South Sound. Soccer is scheduled for Aug. 2-3 at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey, and badminton will take place Aug. 3 at Lakewood Community Center.

Kiley said he expects up to 2,000 athletes spread over a dozen venues. He noted 75 percent of the athletes travel at least 50 miles.

The games also will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the 1984 U.S. Olympic Women’s Marathon Trials at a reception and dinner celebration at 5 p.m. Saturday at The Olympia Center. Guest speakers include Lacey’s Angela French, who participated in the inaugural trials in May 1984, and former Washington State Supreme Court Justice Gerry Alexander, who was Capital City Marathon Association president when Olympia was awarded the trials.