Name them inspiring. Name them fierce. Name them highly effective. Simply please, don’t name them “cute,” says Katie Couric, the legendary journalist who this yr is performing as a spokesperson for the video games, generally often known as the “Senior Olympics.”
For Couric, sharing the tales of those top-tier athletes isn’t simply concerning the thrill of the competitors (which is thrilling certainly—clips from the event typically go viral). It’s about busting myths about what older individuals are and aren’t purported to do, and selling the significance of being active as you age. “I really like the message of staying vibrant and wholesome,” she says. “Significantly now that I’m 66, so I’m one of many individuals who is growing older and staying very energetic.”
Properly+Good spoke to Couric about her personal health routine, the ageism older athletes face, and the Senior Video games opponents she’ll be rooting for.
The Senior Video games athletes inspiring Couric
Of all of the opponents she’s spoken to, a couple of tales stand out to Couric.
One is Willie Spuill, who was a veteran fighting myriad well being points when he rediscovered working in his 60s—then swept his observe occasions at his first Senior Video games. “This has opened up part of him that basically wanted to be channeled and expressed and shared,” says Couric.
For DeEtte Sauer, studying to swim, and ultimately changing into one of the crucial adorned athletes on the Video games (final yr she gained eight gold medals—the identical as Michael Phelps on the Beijing Olympics, Sauer proudly shared with Couric) was key to her restoration from alcoholism.
And at 94, Dwight Smith shall be competing for gold in basketball alongside his son, Terry. His granddaughter, Christie, shall be making her Senior Video games debut in pickleball.
“You see the transformation in these of us once they become involved in a sport,” says Couric. “However sport is just a part of it—it’s being with different folks.”
How Couric stays energetic herself
As a longtime advocate for well being and wellness, it’s no shock that Couric’s personal health routine is in depth and ever-growing. An avid tennis and pickleball participant (“I used to be an early pickleball adopter,” she says), she additionally began Pilates in the course of the pandemic, “as a result of sitting a lot actually made me stiff, and I wanted to work on my core energy.”
She’s additionally a giant walker, “particularly as a result of I used to be identified with breast most cancers a yr in the past,” says Couric. “I’ve to take these aromatase inhibitors, which might typically have a detrimental impact in your bone density, so I do loads of strolling and weight-bearing workouts.”
She’s additionally engaged on her steadiness, acutely aware of its rising significance later in life to forestall falls. And, like most of us, she’s attempting to really stretch repeatedly.
Couric provides that she’s taking some inspiration from the Senior Video games athletes she’s interviewed: “I actually need to discover ways to swim,” she says. “I understand how to swim, however I’ve by no means been in a position to do it with out getting actually winded, so I feel I have to be doing one thing mistaken—I used to be serious about taking swimming classes this summer time.”
On ageism and taking older athletes severely
Couric says she hasn’t personally encountered any stereotypes about growing older, “as a result of I defy them every day and ignore anybody who would underestimate me or attempt to marginalize me,” she says. “I pity the idiot.”
However, she acknowledges that such stereotypes completely exist. “We now have to struggle towards the tendency to underestimate older folks, or infantilize them,” she says. “I get actually mad when folks say ‘Oh, she’s so cute’ about any individual who’s actually completed. Individuals might not take older folks as severely as they need to, however I at all times suppose, should you’re fortunate, you’re gonna be one.”
“We now have to struggle towards the tendency to underestimate older folks, or infantilize them.” —Katie Couric
Her recommendation? It’s by no means too late to begin getting energetic—whether or not that’s swimming, pickleball, or one thing else completely. “Don’t let some form of theoretical clock or calendar cease you,” she says. “We proceed to be actually succesful. Generally society tells you you’re not, however should you simply ignore that and hold going, you are able to do loads of fantastic issues for the entire period of your life.”