2017 Huntsman World Senior Games conclude in style

Huntsman World Senior Games, Volleyball, St. George, UT, Oct. 21, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The Huntsman World Senior Games came to an end for another year Saturday in Utah’s Dixie, with an eye-popping number of participants taking part in the annual sports-fest.

The final three team sports, basketball, volleyball and soccer, concluded with dozens of medals being handed out to the best 50-and-older group of athletes in the world. All-totaled, nearly 11,000 competitors took part in the 2017 Games.

“By comparison, there were 10,500 athletes in the last Summer Olympics in London,” said HWSG sports director John “Rosey” Rosander. “That’s a lot of people coming to our community and we hope they all experienced how wonderful it is here. If they had a good experience, they’ll come back.”

Rosander also praised the “army” of volunteers – numbering at about 3,000 people – who spend time making sure the athletes’ needs are taken care of, on and off the athletic fields.

Huntsman World Senior Games pickle ball, St. George, Utah, Oct. 13, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

“Our volunteers are what makes the Huntsman World Senior Games so special,” he said. “We get participants telling us all the time what great volunteers and helpers we have. And these wonderful volunteers don’t get paid. They come and donate their own time to help make the Games great.”

The HWSG started in 1987 as simply the “World Senior Games,” as the brainchild of Daisy and John H. Morgan. The Huntsman Corporation came aboard two years later, thanks to the support of chairman Jon M. Huntsman.

According to the HWSG website, “In addition to athletic events, the Games promote health by providing life saving health screenings for cancer – breast and prostate. Screenings also detect other serious health threats – glaucoma, diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and decreased bone density. Volunteer medical and nursing students assist with the screenings and generous sponsors provide diagnostic equipment and services.

Gurdev Singh, Huntsman Senior Games Track and Field, St. George, Utah, Oct. 8, 2014 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

“Band concerts, dances, and awards socials for each sport are also part of the package, bringing athletes and guests together in a social atmosphere where they share in, and congratulate each other for, their achievements. This important aspect of the Games emphasizes the celebration of success for all participants, whether or not they win a medal.”

The Senior Games is part of a handful of big-time events held in St. George and the surrounding area each year, including the St. George Marathon (in early October), and the Ironman St. George 70.3 (usually in early May). Southern Utah is becoming increasingly popular among tourists, especially active and fit tourists who love to take advantage of St. George’s close proximity to National Parks and other natural wonders.

The 2018 Hunstman World Senior Games are scheduled for Oct. 8 through Oct. 20. The official schedule will be available on Jan. 1, and team registration will open the same day. Athlete registration will once again open at midnight on Mar. 1, 2018.

The following photo gallery was captured by St. George News sports photographer Robert Hoppie on the last day of the 2017 Games. No less than 31 team gold medals (and silver, and bronze) were handed out Saturday in the different age groups and skill classifications.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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  • commonsense October 23, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    Why no mention of pickleball? It’s the largest individual sport with over 800 participants.
    It also attracts the best senior players in the world.

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