Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Host 2019 National Senior Games
13 Jul, 2016
The National Senior Games Association (NSGA) has selected Albuquerque as the Host City for the 2019 National Senior Games. Mayor Richard J. Berry announced the news at a press conference held on the plaza in front of the Albuquerque Convention Center, which will serve as the hub of activity for the massive event coming to The Land of Enchantment.
“Sports tourism is an incredible opportunity for Albuquerque, Berry said. “This is why we have been intentional in the investments we have made to make Albuquerque a perfect destination for this prestigious event. Our city is very excited to open our doors to the athletes, their families, and friends as we host the National Senior Games in the summer of 2019.”
Mayor Berry’s comments were amplified by attending representatives from the city’s Department of Senior Affairs, Visit Albuquerque, the New Mexico Aging and Long Term Services Department, New Mexico Senior Olympics, Albuquerque Recreation and Parks Department, the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque Police Department, and others. “This national event will produce a great public-private partnership,” said Jorja Armijo-Brasher, director of the Department of Senior Affairs, “We are thrilled to have been selected.”
The bidding process took several months. In 2015, the City of Albuquerque partnered with Visit Albuquerque and the University of New Mexico to create and submit a proposal to host the games. As a result of the proposal, the NSGA selection committee visited the Albuquerque area and toured a variety of venues including university sports complexes and city facilities. After the site visit, representatives from the City of Albuquerque made a final presentation to the NSGA Board of Directors.
“When we made our visit to Albuquerque, the biggest thing that impressed us was that everyone shared a passion for seniors and providing services for their elder citizens,” NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker said. “Mayor Berry uses the motto ‘One City, One Team’ and it’s clear that they are a team. NSGA is confident Albuquerque will do whatever it takes to welcome our athletes and visitors, and to help produce outstanding games at great venues in 2019.”
The National Senior Games, which has been held every two years since 1987, is the largest multi-sport event in the world for people 50 and over to qualify for. Qualifying takes place through 52 NSGA member and associate games held throughout the country and Canada. More than 10,000 athletes are expected to compete in 19 medal sports, with more than 800 events staged at multiple venues over a two-week period during the summer of 2019. The exact dates for The Games will be finalized and announced later this year. The 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana will be hosted next June 2-15 in Birmingham, Alabama.
Cities seek to host the National Senior Games in hopes of reaping the tourism and publicity benefits that it brings. In addition to athletes, as many as 15,000 family and friends will also travel along, bringing an estimated $35 million in economic impact. Beyond satisfying all of the required elements of their bid package, Riker credited a spirit of unity and commitment to qualify of life for seniors found by the evaluation team as a compelling quality of Albuquerque’s presentation.
"We were also impressed with the level of state support given to the New Mexico Senior Olympics for many years," Riker added. "The New Mexico Aging and Long Term Services Department has provided support making it possible for 28 local games with events in more than 130 communities around the state. This helps feed many more athletes into the state's qualifying events, which has resulted in a large New Mexico contingent coming to the National Senior Games."
Many New Mexico senior athletes were also present to help celebrate the selection, including ladies’ basketball team members from the Big Dogs, Canyon Nets, and League of Their Own, and from the Albuquerque Silver Gloves softball team.
Ernesto Ramos, a former NSGA board chair who is affectionately known in the state as “The Godfather of New Mexico Senior Olympics,” emotionally expressed his pride with seeing the National Senior Games coming to his home state. “I don’t think anyone can be happier than I am right now. I think I’ll now do a somersault!” he said. “I want to thank the mayor and the team for working so hard, and you know,now the work really starts.“
“NSGA is pleased to share with our member organizations the partnership with the City of Albuquerque to conduct the National Senior Games, and for the first time in the state of New Mexico,” commented current NSGA Board Chair Stephen Rodriquez. “We look forward to the participants receiving a welcoming and memorable experience when they visit the Land of Enchantment and discover its scenic beauty and rich history.”
About NSGA: The National Senior Games Association (NSGA) is a nonprofit member of the United States Olympic Committee that promotes health and wellness for adults 50 and over through education, fitness and sport. NSGA governs the biennial National Senior Games, the largest qualified multi-sport event in the world for seniors. NSGA sanctions 52 state and affiliate members across the country that host qualifying Senior Games or Senior Olympics competition. The 2017 National Senior Games Presented by Humana will be held June 2 – 15, 2017 in Birmingham, Alabama. For more information, visit www.NSGA.com.