Golden Gladiator Games

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Len Levine is determined to come up with the best time during wheelchair races at the JCC of Northern Virginia’s Golden Gladiator Games. Accuracy and just the right amount of force were necessary to earn the most points during the cornhole competition. Photos by Andrea Roth
Len Levine is determined to come up with the best time during wheelchair races at the JCC of Northern Virginia’s Golden Gladiator Games.
Accuracy and just the right amount of force were necessary to earn the most points during the cornhole competition.
Photos by Andrea Roth

They shot hoops, threw bean bags and raced in wheelchairs during the second annual Golden Gladiator Games for senior citizens.

Twenty people in their 60s, 70s and 80s participated and gained points for their teams Oct. 4 at the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia.


Seniors walked away happily with a new workout towel, water bottle, lanyard and, in some cases, even prizes following the senior citizen games, which were geared to keep them active both physically and mentally.

Physically they had to steer their wheelchair around a cone while being timed, shoot as many baskets as possible, gain points thowing in the cornhole competition and toss and catch playing hot potato.

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Mentally, they answered trivia questions about the 1950s, covering music, events and people. There were also questions about the JCC.

Then there was the social component, which clearly was at the forefront for most of the competitors.


“It was very nice. I always have a good time here,” said Gloria Cetron after finishing on the wheelchair.

“It doesn’t matter who wins, as long as you hare having fun,” added Len Levine.

Alice Nerenstone said she had fun. “I come to exercise a couple of times a week anyway. It’s good to stay in shape.”

Keri Drugan, the JCC’s exercise and wellness coordinator, said last year’s games were more individualized and focused on balance and exercise. Last week’s games stressed fun while exercising and team sports, she said.

Reuben Ambaruch, expressed mock surprise when told he was the oldest participant. “I’m 50,” he protested before admitting to being 87 and declaring, “I am the oldest person here.”

Although called the Golden Gladiator Games, the event seemed more like an elaborate Purim carnival, minus the hamantashen. When asked why it was so dubbed, one JCC employee shrugged and said, “That’s what the committee decided.”

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