Senior Olympics documentary featuring Ballwin resident will air on PBS
By: Sheila Frayne Rhoades
Olympic spirit is coming to the Jewish Community Center in Creve Coeur on Oct. 18 with a special screening of an award-winning PBS documentary, “Age of Champions.” The film tells the story of five senior competitors, the oldest of whom is 100, who sprint, leap and swim for the gold at the National Senior Olympics.
“The characters in the film show us that nothing is impossible,” Director Christopher Rufo said. “Whatever your age, it’s never too late to pursue your dreams and achieve something great. Senior athletes in St. Louis and all over the country show us a way to live longer, healthier and happier lives.”
Produced by the California-based nonprofit Documentary Foundation, “Age of Champions” took two years to make and will be televised next year on PBS. Working in partnership with AARP, the filmmakers are touring 20 states and launching more than 1,000 community events around the country. Having hosted the St. Louis Senior Olympics for 33 years, the JCC is a fitting venue for the St. Louis premiere.
“We did a casting call to 10,000 athletes, received 1,000 responses and chose five characters,” Rufo said of the character selection process. “It was an easy process because of the characters’ amazing life stories and accomplishments.”
In addition to the film screening, there will be a question-and-answer session with Rufo and Ballwin athlete Bill Cannon, 82. In 1988, Cannon began competing in swimming meets and later added track and field. He since has accumulated more than 2,000 medals and averages 12 to 15 competitions a year.
“I’ve been semi-retired since April and have used my free time to do more training,” said Cannon, who recently set a pool record in the 200-meter individual medley in Carbondale, Ill., and set a new record also for the 1,000-yard freestyle at the Show-Me-Games in Columbia, Mo.
The Q & A will focus on healthy aging and how people can become more active.
“Age of Champions” will be shown at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.) on Thursday, Oct. 18 at the Jewish Community Center’s Staenberg Family Complex, 2 Millstone Campus Drive. For free tickets, call (877) 926-8300 or visit ageofchampions.org/mo.