Janice Kurbjun
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February 13, 2013
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Senior Games awards more than 200 medals

Marilyn Olen is 86 years old.

To watch her move on a daily basis - let alone compete in the Summit County 50+ Open Winter Games - you wouldn't think she's 86. Knock about 20 off that number, maybe.

But she is 86, and she does still compete. And not just compete. She finishes every event she enters, and earns herself gold medals along the way in the casually competitive activities that the winter games offer.

This year, Olen took gold in seven of the 15 events offered throughout the two days that concluded Tuesday: three-lap skating, hockey goal shoot, 5k classic Nordic, short snowshoe race, obstacle course, rally race and giant slalom.

She wasn't the only one to receive medals, either. More than 200 medals went out to roughly 70 winter competitors ages 50 and older at Tuesday's awards ceremony at the Summit County Community and Senior Center in Frisco.

Competitors are broken into eight 5-year age brackets from 50-89 who either live in or traveled to Summit County (mostly from the Front Range) for the annual fundraiser. In all, 129 gold medals, 51 silver medals and 31 bronze medals were awarded.

Marta Galnick topped the women's competition with nine gold and one bronze medal. Mary Anderson tied Olen's seven medals as runner-up.

On the men's side, James Westphal and Mike Emmerson dominated the field with five golds and a silver for Westphal, and four golds, two silvers and a bronze for Emmerson.

It all started Monday with figure skating singles and doubles events, skate racing and a "very popular" hockey shoot, where a small target is set up 50 feet away, Simon said, adding that the hockey shoot typically attracts up to 40 competitors each year.

The fun then moved to Dercum Mountain for the downhill slalom race on the EpicMix course, followed by a rally race, which challenges competitors to "race" at an intentionally slow rate. The time closest to the pace time wins. An obstacle course follows, set up much like a backcountry experience, involving ducking under, getting over and moving around various obstructions.

On Tuesday, the action was at the Frisco Nordic Center, where long and short Nordic ski races, a biathlon and short and long snowshoe races were topped off by a snowball toss.

It's all about having fun and testing one's skill against others in the age group, Simon said - and helping raise money for the Summit County Seniors.

Money from the fun and social event goes back into the group's coffers, which is eventually dispersed into grants for organizations like Timberline Adult Day Services, Meals on Wheels and Bristlecone Foundation. This year, the opening dinner and silent auction pulled in a record $4,000 plus an additional approximately $3,000 cash income. The help of volunteers who execute the event combines with donations or in-kind gifts to make the games possible.

The first games were in Colorado Springs in 1981, organizer Ellis Simon said, before they moved to Devil's Thumb Ranch in Grand County and soon made their way to Summit County, adopting the name Summit 50+ Open Winter Games along the way to open entry more fully to the younger crowd.

For full results to be available by the end of February, visit www.summitwintergames.com.


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The Summit Daily Updated Feb 13, 2013 07:52PM Published Feb 13, 2013 07:48PM Copyright 2013 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.