Hundreds of senior soldiers are in Detroit this week for the National Veterans Golden Age Games.

Carmen Schiavoni, 92, is there and has been going to the games since 2003. Schiavoni was a navigator on a B-17 Flying Fortress running missions over Germany during WWII.

image of Carmen Schiavoni, 92, ready to take on any of the “kids” at the Games.

Carmen Schiavoni, 92, ready to take on any of the “kids” at the Games.

Also participating is super motivated Marine Corps Veteran John Martinez, 2014 recipient of the George Gangi Inspiration Award, the top award at the Golden Age Games. He is in Detroit with the team from Fresno, California.

Since 1990, the Golden Age Games has chosen one participant each year as the “Most Inspirational” person to compete. That Veteran exhibits excellent qualities of fitness, sportsmanship and competitive skill. In 1995, the award was renamed to honor the late George Gangi, a participant at the Games in Dallas that year.

The games, now in the 30th year, offer sports and recreational competitive events for Veterans 55 years of age and older. It is the largest sports and recreation competition for this age group of military Veterans in the world and continue to serve as a showcase for the rehabilitation value that wellness and fitness provide in the lives of older Americans.

The National Veterans Golden Age Games is the premier senior adaptive rehabilitation program in the United States, and the only national multi-event sports and recreational seniors’ competition program designed to improve the quality of life for all older Veterans, including those with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. The VA challenges and encourages senior Veterans to be proactive in embracing a healthier lifestyle.

“The games help our Veterans maintain active and healthy lifestyles, and provide them the unique camaraderie of being surrounded by fellow Veterans who share common bonds of service,” said Carla Carmichael, director, National Veterans Golden Age Games. “Through sports and exercise programs and healthy living initiatives, VA continues a long history of providing Veterans with opportunities to stay active, healthy and involved.”

Events at the games include:

  • Air Rifle
  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Boccia
  • Bowling
  • Cycling
  • Horseshoes
  • Golf
  • Nineball
  • Swimming
  • Table Tennis
  • Track and Field
  • Shuffleboard

A “fountain of youth” for America’s rapidly aging Veteran population, the games provide a multi-event sports and therapeutic recreation program for eligible Veterans receiving care at any VA medical facility. They reflect VA’s mission – to provide quality programs and health care for older Veteran population. Over the years, competitive events at the Golden Age Games have been adapted to meet specific needs of the participants.

image of swimmer

The games are the premier senior adaptive rehabilitation program in the United States.

There are separate age groups and gender divisions and because many Veterans also face medical challenges, events were added for those who use wheelchairs and those who have visual impairments. To accommodate the varying degrees of physical conditioning, motor and cognitive skills of the participants, basic competition rules were adapted. The modification of rules and use of adaptive equipment in many events allow non-ambulatory and visually impaired Veterans to participate.

This has made the National Veterans Golden Age Games a truly adaptive therapeutic sports competition that has become a model for other local, state and national senior sports events. And one Veteran describes it, “It’s a total wellness program. You get physical exercise, mental exercise and I think spiritual in the sense of the camaraderie and fellowship with your teammates. I think it keeps a lot guys out of the hospital.”


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Published on Jul. 13, 2016

Estimated reading time is 3 min.

Views to date: 87


  1. Sandy Cleary July 19, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    I am interested in next year’s gamrs

  2. Sunday Abraham July 19, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Future NVGAG Events:
    2017; Biloxi, Mississippi; May 7-11, 2017

    2018; Albuquerque, New Mexico; July 28-August 1, 2018

  3. William Ryalls July 18, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    It’s great reading about the “GAMES” but it would have been even “nicer” to have heard about them before hand so that I might have been able to participate.

  4. Paul Trevino ventura July 15, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    I’m a Vietnam veteran, living in santa maria California I would love to attend the games can u send info please.
    Thank you

  5. LAWRENCE TIFFIN July 15, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    Thank You,

  6. harold stadler July 15, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    i am an 83year old naval veteran with moderate disability due to a spinal injury,am interested in the golden age sports program could you please advise.

  7. harold stadler July 15, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    i am an 83 year old naval veteran with moderate disability due to. spinal injury,am interested in the golden age sports program could you please advise.

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