THE countdown to London 2012 has been full of images of young, lithe athletes, but Sheffield’s elderly population displayed their own sporting prowess in a mini-Olympics.
More than 100 pensioners from 11 SheffCare homes across the city showed their competitive streak when they took part in the Care Home Games 2012 at Don Valley Stadium.
While traditional sports had to be altered to suit members of the older generation, the spirit of the Olympics was alive and well.
Shot put was replaced with skittles, target throwing took over from archery and decathlons were ditched for dominos in a bid to give residents of all abilities the chance to join in with the fun-filled activities.
A vast amount of preparation went into residents’ efforts, with some care homes holding heats and practice runs ahead of the big day.
Guests of honour were Olympian couple John and Sheila Sherwood.
Sheffield-born Sheila, aged 66, scooped silver in long jump in the Mexico City Games in 1968, while her husband John, 67, won bronze in the 400 metre hurdles. The pair brought along their medals to show to the army of older people taking part in the Care Home Games.
The event, which was organised by Activity Sheffield, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and Sheffield Council, also saw Lord Mayor of Sheffield Coun John Campbell drop in to present winners with prizes of their own.
Kelly Reilly, event co-organiser for Activity Sheffield, said: “It was fantastic, there were lots of smiles all round.
“One of the best things was having John and Sheila there. I saw a lot of people going up to them and asking to touch the medals, it was really nice to have some athletes who have won at the Olympics there. It made it extra special.”
Last year’s overall winners, Knowle Hill home in Halfway, successfully defended their place at the top. Silver went to the team from North Hill at Southey Green and bronze was given to Henleigh Hall, Abbeydale.
There was also a flag and poster design competition for more artistic members of the care home community, who were tasked with coming up with an entry which captured the spirit of London 2012.
It was down to Coun Campbell to judge the entries and Dalewood View, Woodseats came out on top.
Carol Grayson, head of Knowle Hill’s team, said: “Last year’s trophy and medals are still proudly displayed at the home. Winning is an added bonus but the residents enjoy the taking part anyway.”