Today is the kickoff of the National Senior Games, a biennial, nineteen-sport competition for men and women over the age of fifty. Since its inception in 1987, the Games have attracted thousands of athletes from across the United States to compete in both team sports and individual events such as cycling, swimming, and track & field.
In 2001, photographer Ed Kashi attended the Games in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His photos from the event later became a part of a larger project undertaken with writer Julie Winoker. The resulting film, Aging in America: The Years Ahead, examines what it means to live in the “new old age.” Through a series of personal vignettes, the film breaks down stereotypes of the elderly and challenges our assumptions about the culture of aging.
Ed Kashi, A sprinter crosses the finish line during a track event at the 2001 Senior Olympics. In fifteen years, the Senior Olympics has grown from a modest experiment to a national phenomenon drawing more than 12,000 athletes in dozens of events, 2001 (2006.40.45)
Ed Kashi, Pole-vaulters in the 75+ category relax as they wait for their turn. Natural attrition thins the ranks in the highest age categories, 2001 (2006.41.5)
Ed Kashi, A pole-vaulter in the 70+ category defies gravity at the 2001 Senior Olympics., 2001 (2006.40.26)