Not All Senior Winners Came Home With Medal

July 07, 1991

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Every senior athlete here for the U.S. National Senior Sports Classic had a different story.

Some came and went without ever being noticed, but some will be remembered for a long time. Here's a brief look at some of the folks who made their mark on the games in ways that didn't always include winning.

* Tony Quici, 66, rode his bicycle more than 3,000 miles from hishome in San Clemente, Calif., to compete here. The 66-year-old said he undertook the trip to promote the senior games. Quici, who ran in four events and cycled in one, got back on his bike after the games closed and headed for Washington, D.C., to lobby for a group hoping todesignate bike riding roads nationwide.

* Tom Schaefer, of Peoria, Ariz., just missed a medal in the 50-meter backstroke for men 60-64. The 60-year-old went out too fast and ran out of gas. His 42.66 puthim just out of medal contention, but Schaefer has survived worse setbacks. A retired Air Force colonel, Schaefer was one of the hostagesheld in Iran for 444 days in 1980.

* Jim Law was the talk of the track. The 65-year-old psychologist from Charlotte, N.C., holds national records for his age group in all three sprint events, but it wasn't just his speed and smooth stride that caught everyone's attention.It was what he wore -- a white unitard ala Florence Griffith-Joyner.The new aerodynamic look sure didn't hurt -- Law, originally from Baltimore, swept the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes as expected.

* Arda Perkins, 81, of Dearborn, Mich., didn't think she was anything special at the national games. She finished fifth in the 200-meter backstroke, fourth in the 200 freestyle and well out of the running in the 1,500-meter race walk. Everyone else, including her dog Teddy, thought she was pretty amazing. Perkins is blind.

* If 73-year-old Richard Bernabe needed some advice while here for the games, all he hadto do was call his dad, 96-year-old Orlando Bernabe. Richard Bernabecompeted in tennis, but his father took part in a variety of sports.

* John Fleck of Pennsylvania, the oldest competitor in the games at 99, delivered an address at the opening ceremonies and picked up agold medal in swimming. But while he was busy doing all that his companion's car was stolen. Luckily, police recovered it before the games and ended. Last anyone heard, Fleck was happily motoring home pondering his next trip to the nationals.

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