Highland Springs Summer Olympics

Resident Gerald Duerksen was the medal count winner of the 2016 Highland Springs Olympics held in August.

Dallas, Texas—For two weeks, Americans were mesmerized by the brilliance of gymnast Simone Biles, the record-setting performance of swimmer Michael Phelps and the continued dominance of both the men’s and women’s basketball squads.

The Summer Olympics in Rio brought many golden memories  for Team USA, but residents of Highland Springs earned their own medals, too.

The Erickson Living retirement community in North Dallas conducted its own two-week “Summer Olympics” with 23 unique events enjoyed by 230 participants.

“We offered all of these challenges as a health and wellness series to coincide with the Olympics,” Barbara Blachly, Community Resources Coordinator at Highland Springs.  “And for another important reason, too.  We’re unique!  Our residents had fun.”

Sporting events included long putting, Wii Chair Bowling, Wii Singles Tennis, Wii Doubles Tennis, Wii Bowling (Men and Women), Wii Darts, bocce ball, “The Big Shoot Out” featuring water guns, water volleyball, chair volleyball, 8-ball billiards and a balance challenge.  

The “thinking” events included Rummikub, Bible trivia, bridge, Texas Hold’Em, 5-card stud poker and a memory challenge.  

Residents who enjoy fishing participated in fly-casting and plug-casting contests.  And of course, there were the bucket ball toss and “Chunk a Chicken” games that brought as much laughter as competitive spirit.

Highland Springs resident Gerald Duerksen was the “Michael Phelps” of the games, earning 11 medals (five of them gold).  Residents Sam HeLal (nine medals) and Wayne May (six medals) were other top performers.

The Summer Olympics at Highland Springs ended with a closing ceremony and the awarding of medals on August 19.

“There was a lot of energy in the room as the American flag was raised and resident Sue Bullock led our athletes in singing The Star-Spangled Banner,” said Ms. Blachly.  “We can’t wait to do it again in 2018 for the Winter Olympics in South Korea.”


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