After postponements and cancellations over the past two years, the Alberta 55 Plus movement is back on track.
The 2022 Alberta 55 Plus Winter Games were in Edmonton April 7 – 10, with approximately 1,100 participants taking part. Competitions were held in more than a dozen sports and activities, at various age groupings.
Alberta 55 Plus president Dave Finn said the turnout was “very exciting news.”
“The last sets of games we held averaged around the 825-850 mark,” he said. “I really feel our members were ready to get out of their homes and start to compete, socialize, and mingle once again.”
With access to sports facilities restricted over the past two years, many participants had to overcome a bit of “rust.” It didn’t take long for them to get into the spirit of competition.
And Finn said the huge numbers of volunteers remained with the project through all the uncertainty, and managed to put together a memorable meet.
“We have a very dedicated core group of volunteers, judges, directors, all who readily accepted the challenge of putting on the Winter Games,” he said. “From what we have heard so far, the Games were a huge success.
“An event of this size does not happen without a few hiccups, and we had some. But for the most part, the feedback has been extremely positive. The Opening Ceremonies were a complete hit and the positive comments about Chief Willie Littlechild’s speech are too many to count. The Expo Center was a hit as well with the members—comments about the food and entertainment were very positive.”
Cold Lake, Bonnyville, and St. Paul are all part of the Games’ sprawling Zone 7, which extends from Wainwright to Fort McMurray. Zone 7 president Kay Hauer said the zone sent 106 participants to Edmonton, a sign that the 55 Plus movement has bounced back from the pandemic and is in good overall health.
“I’m pleased that we had a number of the younger people come out to these games, the 55- to 60-year-olds,” Hauer said. “Which to me shows that there is going to be continuing interest.”
With the Winter Games complete, there is no time to rest. The Alberta Summer Games will be in the Peace Country June 16 – 19, and many athletes who qualified through Alberta Games will be off to Kamloops in August for the 55 Plus Canada Games.
Finn said the aim from here is to resume the pre-pandemic rotation of provincial games in odd-numbered years, and Canada Games in even-numbered years.