From July 19 – August 1, 2013, 10,888 athletes over the age of 50 converged on the City of Cleveland to participate in the 2013 National Senior Games. The event featured 19 different medal-contending sports, multiple free public events and support from over 75 local and national sponsors.
Greater Cleveland Sports Commission is dedicated to ensuring that events held in Cleveland are more successful than when held in any other city. In addition to the $36.1 million in economic impact the National Senior Games infused into the Northeast Ohio economy, GCSC provided youth clinics and health and educational programming to enhance community impact.
Hosting the National Senior Games provided an opportunity to develop the Year of Vitality, a year-long programming series on healthy living and active lifestyles, which reached an additional 10,000 residents in and around Greater Cleveland.
Athletes proved that with the right attitude and an emphasis on fitness, competition can always be a positive part of a person’s life. Whether it was picking up a floor burn on the basketball court, pushing the limits on the bicycle or spiking home the perfect volleyball set, the 2013 National Senior Games athletes inspired Cleveland with their dedication and perseverance.
2013 National Senior Games had the privilege of being the inaugural event at the brand-new 90,000-square-foot Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland. The facility housed The Village sponsored by AstraZeneca which featured competitions in volleyball, badminton, pickleball and shuffleboard. It also served as the operational headquarters for the event.
2013 National Senior Games's large footprint required many different event spaces and facilities including:
To provide both a celebration for athletes and create local engagement around the National Senior Games in Cleveland, GCSC hosted several rock ‘n roll-themed ancillary events.
National recording artist, Rusted Root, helped light the City of Light Monument at the Opening Festival which was followed by American figure skater and gold medalist, Scott Hamilton’s appearance as a mascot before hosting the Celebration of Athletes. Additionally, The Village offered live entertainment, exhibits and partner booths at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland.
As part of the legacy of the 2013 National Senior Games, GCSC executed the design and creation of “The City of Light” monument to serve as an iconic centerpiece of the two-week competition. The cauldron not only represents the commitment and resolve of the National Senior Games athletes, it also symbolizes the unification of the Cleveland community following the 1969 Cuyahoga River fire to encourage the passage of the Clean Water Act of 1972.
The flame-shaped architectural sculpture was illuminated with LED lights during the Opening Festival and will serve as a permanent reminder of what the National Senior Games meant to Cleveland.
The Year of Vitality program was created help chang the attitude and perception of aging in Northeast Ohio. The program gave people opportunities to exercise new healthy behaviors and promoted Cleveland as a city that is conducive to healthy and active aging. These programs added a new dimension to the Games never before seen.
The Year of Vitality included 111 individual events throughout Northeast Ohio and impacted nearly 10,000 people.
2013 National Senior Games was a true community effort. GCSC relived heavily on volunteers to support 19 sports, 20 venues and to serve over 10,000 athletes.
Volunteers were recruited to fill nearly 4,000 shifts over the two-week event. Recruitment began a year prior to the Games and created a strong base for a consistent volunteer program for future events.
2013 National Senior Games provided an opportunity to positively impact the Northeast Ohio community. The "Year of Vitality," a year-long series of free community programs held before The Games, was a collaboration of senior-serving organizations, sponsors, community foundations and volunteers. The series was a first in the history of the National Senior Games.
In a post-event survey, visitor's perception of Cleveland was improved greatly due to their experience here during the Senior Games. Additionally, community engagement initiatives such as the ambassador and volunteer programs, drew thousands more into the mix of the National Senior Games in Cleveland.
I have participated in seven National Senior Games in seven cities since 2001, and Cleveland is the only one I’d like to come back and visit. I loved Cleveland!
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