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Trio to compete in National Senior Olympics

DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Fellow Olympiads Butch Ayers (left) and D.C. Greer show off their medals Friday. Ayers, Greer and Larry Mills (not pictured) won the medals at the Mississippi Senior Olympics. It was a qualifying event for the National Senior Olympics, to be held in July of 2015.

DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Fellow Olympiads Butch Ayers (left) and D.C. Greer show off their medals Friday. Ayers, Greer and Larry Mills (not pictured) won the medals at the Mississippi Senior Olympics. It was a qualifying event for the National Senior Olympics, to be held in July of 2015.

Still years away from their golden years, three Brookhaven men have been lured by the infectious attraction of gold. Now, they will sprint as fast as they can to earn that gold at the National Senior Olympics. With assistance from the equipment and personnel at King’s Daughters Medical Center, their dream could well be a reality.

On Saturday, May 3, Butch Ayers, D.C. Greer and Larry Mills, all from Ole Brook, qualified for the National Senior Games by winning two silvers and a gold in three respective events at the Mississippi Senior Olympics. The qualifying games were held May 3 at Mississippi College in Clinton.

Butch Ayers won the Silver Medal in the 100-meter dash in the 55-59 age group; Greer won the Gold Medal in the 400-meter dash in the 65-69 meter dash and Mills won the Gold Medal in the 100-meter dash for ages 50-55.

In previous years, Greer won a bronze medal in the 50-meter Louisiana Senior Olympics and a silver medal in the 200-meter Mississippi Senior Olympics. This year’s Gold Medal marks his highest achievement yet.

The Olympics represent far more than just a medal to Greer whose primary motivation has to do with personal health. As it turns out, some things are more valuable than gold.

“The medals are great, but it’s about living as healthy as possible,” Greer says. When I found out I had diabetes, I immediately wanted to do what I could to minimize the effects of it.” Greer says he has lost 45 pounds in the last 10years – all due to a five-day-a-week exercise schedule that he maintains. As he grows older, he has cut down on the number of shots and amount of pills required to keep the diabetes in check.

Butch Ayers says the equipment at KDMC’s facilities is bar none for training for the games. Specific techniques, including sprint interval training, plus elliptical equipment that mimics the full physical rotation of the running events they are participating in, has left noticeable positive effects, he said.

“Since I started training, I’ve recognized a positive change in my body. I’ve gotten a lot stronger and feel much better.”

All three Olympic athletes have developed a close bond with KDMC fitness personnel, Diedrick J. Clark in particular. Clark is a Master’s Track Athlete and two-time All American USATF sprinter. Greer is interested in becoming a Master’s Track Athlete himself, which will allow him to compete throughout the year.

“I’m training on an outdoor track, but would find more incentive to keep exercising by also competing indoors – all year round,” Greer said.

The three athletes and close friends will continue to train all the way up until the national games, to be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in July of 2015.

Open to Mississippi adults 50 and older, the games incorporate summer Olympic events such as basketball, track and field, cycling, badminton, swimming and tennis, as well as non-traditional events such as chess, checkers, disc golf, dominos and shuffleboard.

In the immediate future, Greer is taking steps to bring a district game here to Brookhaven. He will meet with a representative with the Mississippi Senior Olympics next week.