Christa has been a part of the Huntsman World Senior Games for eleven years. Since her first competition in 2010, she has participated in many events and serves as an ambassador. If she seems familiar, it is because her photo graces the cover on the results book and is featured on the Huntsman World Senior Games truck, street banners, and flyers.
Christa has won 53 gold medals in the Games, and overall has won 568 medals and has broken 38 world records in 16 events. In 2012, her triple jump of 8.1 meters won her a world record, and contributed to being chosen as the world’s best female master athlete in 2013 by World Masters Athletics.
Christa most enjoys the Huntsman World Senior Games for the friendliness of the officials and the organizers. One other feature she appreciates that is unique to the Games is that all medals come with the details attached.
When asked how she feels about being inducted into the Hall of Fame, she states “I am very honored to be selected to the Hall of Fame. Not only will be my most precious award, but I will continue to appreciate the hard work of all the organizers, officials, and volunteers in your future Games”.
Westley “Vard” Hall
Vard has been involved in the Games as an athlete and volunteer. As an athlete, he has been successful in sports ranging from softball, power walking, pickle ball, Volley ball and more! He has won 11 gold, 5 silver, and 9 bronze medals in his athletic endeavors.
Along with his athletic competition, he serves as a volunteer as well. He has set up the volley ball event, refereed, stuffed athlete bags, and been a leader in the medal ceremonies, presenting over 700 medals to fellow athletes. All of his efforts are done with a smile and enthusiasm.
He shared his feeling about his induction by saying “The Huntsman World Senior Games have a special feeling for me. I meet people from many countries and walks of life. I love the friendly attitude that prevails in the Games. It is a great Honor for me to be placed in the Huntsman World Senior Games Hall of Fame”.
Doug and Marianne Hamilton
We first learned about the Games in 2011, when an online search for race walking events led us to the Games website. In spite of our hesitancy over the word “Senior”, we signed up. And…WOW! What a revelation! From the moment we walked into the Dixie Center and saw thousands of really happy, healthy, enthusiastic people our age, we truly though we’d landed in some wonderful parallel universe. Our experiences far exceeded our expectations. To say we were smitten with the Games doesn’t begin to describe it.
Fast-forward to 2021: for the past five years, we have served as the director/co-director of the race walk and power walk events. It is always a labor of love; there is truly nothing in the world like welcoming our athletes back to St. George each year. In spite of the time that passes between Games, we all pick up as if we just saw each other; the friendships we’ve made with our athletes are deep and enduring. It’s because of the Games that we moved to St. George!
Doug has competed in the cycling, road races, triathlon, power walking, and trail running events. Marianne has competed in all of the Race Walking events. One memorable highlight was in 2019 when Marianne was crowned “Ms. Senior Italy Universe” at the Concert and celebration during the Games.
When asked about their feelings about their induction, Doug states” This is unexpected and exciting to be thought of as an important part of the Games family. The Games brought us to St. George, and changed our lives for the better. Competition is great, but above all, it’s about friendship”. Marianne adds “cHThis honor is something I never, ever in my wildest fantasies could have contemplated. It has been a huge joy to be a part of the ‘machine’ that puts on the Games each year and to give back to the organization that has brought us such pure joy and self-fulfillment. We are enormously, profoundly grateful to be recognized this way”.
Susan has been involved in swimming as an athlete and a coach. Susan attended her first World Senior Games ten years ago to support one of the swimmers. While supporting him, she entered several swimming events. Little did she know how quickly she would fall in love with St. George and the Games.
Since that time, she has set 37 Games records and earned more than 50 gold medals. Susan appreciates the Health Screenings offered by the Games so much that she has donated to the Games to ensure that they will continue. Susan is an official Games Ambassador, and brings new athletes to compete each year.
She swims all over the world, including Italy, Germany, Brazil, Sweden and Canada. She has made several open water crossings, including Lake Tahoe, Alcatraz and Key West. She plans on a solo swim to cross the Strait of Gibraltar next year.
On her feelings of being inducted, she says “I am stunned to say the least! This is an incredible honor because of what the Games personally mean to me. As an athlete, coach, ambassador, and donor, my involvement with the Games has been on many levels. The excitement I felt that very first year continues each time I visit. My hope is that I may live up to the standards that other inductees have placed before me and I will inspire others to the commitment of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I plan to come every year, as the Games for me is a symbol of health, competition, ageing well, and friendship”.
Joyce has been associated with the Huntsman World Senior Games for 15 years in which she has played Tennis, Badminton and Pickleball. She is excited to be receiving her 15 year ring this year! Joyce began attending the Games when she was 73 years young and has won medals in each event she has entered.
Joyce has always had a competitive spirit, and she said she met her husband Don when she was a junior in high school and he was in the Navy. She heard he played badminton and thought she was “hot stuff” because she could beat everyone in high school – even the boys! Don beat her 15-0! He then confessed that he played in tournaments, and she decided that she was going to marry him- she says the poor guy didn’t have a chance!
Joyce says she will encourages her friends to enter the Games, as she is so impressed with the way they are run – she says “I am your #1 fan!” When asked how she felt about being inducted to the Hall of Fame, Joyce said: “I am pleased that I was nominated, and excited about being chosen. I’ve played in hundreds of tournaments over the years, and the Huntsman World Senior Games has been one of my favorites”.
Hilary Hilton Marold
Hilary has competed in the Games since 2010 in Pickleball. Hilary is known as the “Queen of the Racquets” due to the fact that she is the only female athlete to hold National Titles in four different racquet sports. She has won 23 National Pickleball Championships and holds the most National USAP gold medals than any other athlete. She has been featured in People, Pickleball, Sports Illustrated, the New York Times, and many other prestigious magazines and news articles.
She enjoys participating in the Games, and loves to get to know other athletes in various sports by trading stories with them. She says you can feel the passion and emotion they feel, and she loves athletes who wear their hearts on their sleeves!
Speaking about her feelings on her induction, Hilary says: “Thank you for allowing me this great honor. I am humbled and grateful to be included in the 2021 inductee list. I was elated when I heard the news. It is very satisfying to know I will be joining many other worthy athletes who go that extra mile purely for the love we have for sports and our zest for life”.
Sandy has been participating in the Games for 13 years. She has been instrumental in bringing the Jolico women’s softball team from Michigan to participate in the Games. The plays first and third base, but her pitching abilities is what sets her apart on the field. In the past six years, every team she pitched for has taken first place.
Sandy started playing softball when she was 12 years old, and has been on traveling teams, collegiate teams, and several fast and slow pitch teams throughout the years. She shared her love of sports as a physical education teacher for over 30 years, coaching softball, basketball and volleyball. She also plays Golf and Pickleball!
When asked to share her feeling on her induction, she says that she was “Blown Away! It is a great honor to represent Women’s Senior Softball and above all, Jolico! If not for my awesome teammates, I would not have had the opportunity to receive this award. A hug and thanks goes out to Pat Weiland for sponsoring the Jolico teams that represent Michigan. Also to the coaches who helped organize a bunch of women into a great team. I am truly fortunate to be playing competitively at this age. Softball has always been a big part of my life, but the best part is the camaraderie it has given me for throughout my 57 years of playing.
James is a senior athlete with a very specific skill: shooting a basketball! For the past four years, he has been the top ranked free throw shooter in the world – regardless of age. Last year, he became the second person ever to make over 3,000 free throws in a row! He is also an incredible three point shooter as well, having made over 100 in a row 24 times, with a best of 283 straight.
James has been competing in the Games for 10 years. He holds all of the Huntsman World Senior Games shooting records. He set the Huntsman “Hot Shots” record of 62 points in one minute in 2014; in 2017 he set the Huntsman “Overall Champion” record with 117 points in two minutes; and in 2018, he shot the first and only perfect score in the Games history in the “Free Throw/Three Point Challenge”.
Each year, following the age division competition, the Huntsman World Senior Games partners with the National Basketball Shooters Association to crown the World Senior Free Throw Champion, a title James has won a record three times.
Sylvia had participated in the Games for 30 years as an athlete and a volunteer. Sylvia is a dynamo, serving as an Assistant Director of Racquetball as well as competing in the tournaments. She has played in the Games every year since 1990 and has received many medals in singles and doubles events. She was awarded the “Gene Pletcher Award” in 2011. She has guided teams to the National Championships three times in the 1990s, and was a nationally-ranked player sponsored by HEAD products.
With all of her accomplishments, Sylvia says that her greatest achievement is her family – she has been married for 62 years and is proud of her 5 children, 11 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren. When asked about how she felt upon hearing of her induction, she said “After playing in the Games for 30 years, it is a real honor and a highlight of my life to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. I have made such good friends on an off the courts, and I have met, watched, and conversed with many outstanding athletes. I am extremely happy to be here and share this night with my wonderful family and friends, and I would like to take this opportunity and say ‘Thank You’ to them for encouraging me and understanding my passion for racquetball all these years!”
Doug entered his first Huntsman World Senior Games 30 years ago competing in Track & Field. He says he did not do well that first year because he wasn’t in great shape, and ended up with pulled muscles. He persevered and added softball and basketball to his repertoire and began improving and winning medals in all events, includeing a gold in 3 on 3 basketball!
Like most Huntsman athletes, he looks forward to the Games every year as the highlight of his annual athletic participation. Though he has set records in the High Jump, Long Jump, and Standing Long jump in other competitions, so far he has set only one at the Huntsman World Senior Games. He said it’s because the nation’s top athletes often compete at the Games, making the competition tough!
Doug says that he and the other athletes are impressed with how well the events are planned and operated. They are also impressed at the number of volunteers that help and are always smiling.
Doug has won over 100 medals during his years of competition..., but more importantly, he has “won” many friends. He said the Games were the catalyst that opened the door to many years of successful state, national and international competitions.
On hearing of his induction to the Hall of Fame, Doug states: Over the years, I have developed much respect for the men and women who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. A few I have played softball with as teammates. I never assumed that one day I would be invited to join this group of outstanding individuals. I am honored to join them and also humbled by this inclusion into the 2021 Huntsman World Senior Games Hall of Fame. Thank you for this recognition. I love the Games!”