National Senior Games

History of the NSGA

(Taken directly from: )

In 1985 in St. Louis, MO, a group of seven men and women formed the original leadership for what was initially known as the National Senior Olympics Organization (NSOO). The vision: to promote healthy lifestyles for adults through education, fitness and sport.

In the fall of 1985 they hosted a meeting of individuals who were currently conducting games for seniors in their 33 states. That group planned the first National Senior Olympic Games, held in 1987 in St. Louis. The games were a great success with 2,500 competitors. The NSOO was formalized during the games with a Board of Directors elected, articles of incorporation filed in the State of Missouri and by-laws adopted. Over 100,000 spectators viewed the first Games ceremonies featuring Bob Hope at the St. Louis Riverfront Arch.

The second National Games also took place in St. Louis in 1989, hosting 3,500 seniors and were covered by the New York Times, ESPN and Good Morning America.

In 1990 an agreement was reached with the United States Olympic Committee based on their objection to the use of the term Olympic in the organization’s corporate name and the name was changed to the U.S. National Senior Sports Organization, and the organization began working under the name National Senior Games Association. The organization continued to name its signature event the National Senior Games – The Senior Olympics and, through a grandfather clause, States that were using the name Senior Olympics at the time of the USOC agreement were allowed to continue that privilege.

The NSGA exists today as a non-profit organization dedicated to motivating active adults to lead a healthy lifestyle through the senior games movement.

The Games, a 19-sport, biennial competition for men and women 50 and over, is the largest multi-sport event in the world for seniors. Those core sports are as follows:

ArcheryCompound Fingers/Compound Release/Recurve/
Barebow Compound Fingers/Barebow Recurve
BadmintonSingles/Doubles/Mixed Doubles
BowlingSingles/Doubles/Mixed Doubles
Cycling5K/10K (Time Trials),
20K/40K (Road Races)
Golf54-hole Scratch Play
PickleballSingles/Doubles/Mixed Doubles
Race Walk1500M/ 5K
RacquetballSingles/Doubles/Mixed Doubles
Road Race5K/10K
(short course yds.)
Backstroke: 50, 100, 200-Y;
Breaststroke: 50, 100, 200-Y;
Butterfly: 50, 100-Y;
Freestyle: 50, 100, 200, 500-Y;
Individual Medley: 100, 200-Y
Table TennisSingles/Doubles/Mixed Doubles
TennisSingles/Doubles/Mixed Doubles
Track & Field50, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1500M;
Discus, Hammer, High Jump, Javelin, Long Jump, Pole Vault, Shot Put, Triple Jump
Triathlon400M Swim, 20K Cycle, 5K Run

Team Sports: Basketball, Softball, Volleyball

NSGA Member Organizations hold annual games with qualifying competitions in the year preceding The Games. Athletes that meet specific criteria while participating in the State Senior Games qualify to participate. To date, the NSGA has held 14 summer national championships. The cities and the approximate number of athletes are noted below.

YearHost City# of Sports# of Athletes
1987St. Louis, MO152,500
1989St. Louis, MO163,400
1991Syracuse, NY185,000
1993Baton Rouge, LA187,200
1995San Antonio, TX188,200
1997Tucson, AZ1810,300
1999Orlando, FL1812,000
2001Baton Rouge, LA188,700*
2003Hampton Roads, VA1810,700
2005Pittsburgh, PA1811,000
2007Louisville, KY1812,000
2009Palo Alto, CA1810,000
2011Houston, TX1810,100
2013Cleveland, OH1910,881    
2015Bloomington/Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN 1912,000# 
*Reflects more stringent qualifying standards