(9/4) Growing up, Virginia McGovern always
played sports with the kids in her neighborhood.
“I was always doing something,” McGovern
said. “I always had an interest in having fun.”
To this day McGovern, who is a professor
of criminal justice at Mount St. Mary’s University, is still an avid sports
enthusiast and continues to enjoy participating in sports. Thus, when she found
out about the Pennsylvania Senior Games she decided to give it a try, even if
she didn’t know exactly what she was doing.
The Pennsylvania Senior Games are open to
Pennsylvania residents age 50 or older who compete in indoor and outdoor events
over several days each summer. Every other year, competitors can qualify to
compete in the national Senior Olympics. This year’s senior games were held in
York, Pa. on July 22-27.
McGovern competed in several different
events at the games for senior citizens, including shot-put and discuss, which
is a bit surprising, considering McGovern had never trained in either sport.
But McGovern’s former student, Ryan Martin, who helped McGovern train for the
games, said the fact that McGovern decided to attempt the shot-put and discuss
doesn’t surprise him.
“… Dr. McGovern is a very determined
person,” Martin said. “When she puts her mind to something she will do her very
best to reach her goals. She is truly a hard worker.”
After deciding to enter the games McGovern
asked Martin to help her train. Martin himself has participated in
track-and-field events since the fifth grade and was the 2008 NEC conference
champion in discus, making him the perfect candidate to be McGoverns trainer.
“He was a very good teacher,” McGovern
said. “I learned a lot from him.”
Every week for about 10 months the two
trained together, reversing roles, Martin becoming the teacher and McGovern the
student. The training paid off, as McGovern walked away from the games with
several medals, which didn’t surprise Martin.
“I was extremely happy to hear how well
she did. Dr. McGovern put in many hours of practice prior to the games,” Martin
said. “It is a great accomplishment for someone who has never competed in the
throwing events before to learn them so quickly. Dr. McGovern, not only learned
the events in six months but also took home the gold, which is a great
accomplishment. I was just pleased to hear that all of her hard work paid off.”
In addition to her medals, McGovern walked
away with something more, a desire to re-enter the games the next time around.
But she doesn’t plan on re-entering without adding a few events to her arsenal
or stop competing anytime soon.
“I would like to try archery next,”
McGovern said. “There are 90-year olds competing in horseshoes, so if you can
throw a horseshoe you can go to the games.”
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