ST. GEORGE — For more than three decades the Huntsman World Senior Games have been fostering worldwide peace, health and friendship. These three founding principles have driven the games since their inception and were instilled in the fabric of the event by its founder, John Morgan.
It’s part of what has helped the annual event grow into the largest multi-sport event in the world for athletes age 50 and better. The games take place each October in St. George and are open to athletes of all skill levels.
In 2018, the games will welcome more than 11,000 athletes to Southern Utah. All 50 of the United States are represented and athletes from more than 30 different countries will take the playing field, competing in more than 30 different sports over a two-week period.
Each athlete brings his or her own story and measure of inspiration, but perhaps none more than multi-sport athlete Eric Johnson.
Johnson has had an incredibly successful career and has set a goal to earn 2,020 medals by the year 2020. With over 1,900 medals already in swimming, track and field and race walking, Johnson hopes to add several medals to his total during the games.
“We know that athletes can play their sports at home, so when they come to the games we want to give them something special,” said Kyle M. Case, CEO of the games. “We provide social and entertainment opportunities throughout the entire event and the great thing is that the community is invited to take part in much of the fun as well”
The games will officially welcome the athletes to the games at the opening ceremonies Tuesday, Oct. 8, at 7 p.m., at Trailblazer Stadium at Dixie State University.
Following the tradition of the Olympics, the ceremonies feature a parade of athletes, singing and dancing and a huge fireworks display. The opening ceremonies are a free, family-friendly and high-energy show.
Hall of fame speaker and major contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, Dan Clark, will give the keynote address, providing entertainment and inspiration.
In addition to the opening ceremonies, there will be a free concert and celebration Tuesday, Oct. 16, at 7 p.m. This upbeat show takes place in the Dixie State University Burns Arena.
This year The Famous Unknowns will cover musical favorites from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and more. From Elvis and Abba to Tina Turner and Janis Joplin and so much in between.
The community is invited to attend and should plan to bring the entire family.
For more information on the games or any events, visit the Huntsman World Senior Games website.