Carrying the torch for some friendly competition

Community Olympics encourages fitness and friendships

Created date

August 19th, 2019
This year’s Ashby Ponds Olympic games began with the traditional torch carried throughout the campus by the Olympians.

This year’s Ashby Ponds Olympic games began with the traditional torch carried throughout the campus by the Olympians.

With the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo less than a year away, fun-loving community members at Ashby Ponds, an Erickson Living community in Ashburn, Va., recently took part in the community’s eleventh annual Ashby Ponds Olympics.

For a full week, community members participated in a variety of indoor and outdoor events, culminating in the presentation of gold, silver, and bronze medals. More than 250 people competed in this year’s competition, with many participating and medaling in multiple events.

“We encouraged everyone to come out, have fun, meet new friends, and be a part of a team, regardless of their fitness level,” says Fitness Coordinator Debra Silvers Enright.

This year’s Olympic events included bocce, putting golf, seated balloon volleyball, cornhole, billiards, Wii bowling, Frisbee toss, sponge relay, table tennis, pickleball, walk relay, run/walk relay, water volleyball, water medleys, and the one-mile run. 

“I enjoy the fact that the Ashby Ponds Olympics offer activities for all levels of physical abilities, from seated balloon volleyball, to corn hole, pickleball, and the one mile run,” says community member Sharon Harvey. “I’ve noticed that people who otherwise do not take part in physical activities join in on the fun of the Olympics.”

Sharon’s neighbor and fellow Ashby Ponds Olympian Dave Bauer agrees.

“My wife Betty and I like the fact that there are both events focused mainly on participation (where everybody just has a good time and doesn’t care too much about winning) as well as events that test us physically and competitively,” Dave says. “There is a good mix of events that include something for everybody.”

Everyone is welcome

The variety of activities offered throughout the Olympics provide many community members the opportunity to compete while also bringing together neighbors who might not otherwise meet.

“Because there are so many different activities, the Ashby Ponds Olympics introduces people to other members of the community with similar interests,” says Dave.

This year, Dave helped coordinate the table tennis and pickleball events. He also competed in the freestyle swim, winning a gold medal. His wife Betty competed with her friend Mona Smith in women’s pickleball doubles. They too, were awarded a first-place finish. 

In addition to organizing all of the Wii bowling events comprised of 52 athletes on 13 teams, Sharon competed in seated balloon volleyball, the putting challenge, Wii bowling, Frisbee toss, cornhole, water volleyball, sponge relay, and bocce. She won medals in both Wii bowling and water volleyball. 

“It’s not so much about winning a medal as it is the fun of taking part and the new people we meet,” she says. 

Strong support

The driving force behind Ashby Ponds’ Olympic tradition is the community’s commitment to personal wellness and fitness, supported by a staff of professionals who continually seek new ways to make fitness fun and sustainable.

“The staff is great,” says Dave. “The fitness culture at Ashby Ponds really encourages a partnership relationship between residents and staff. A great example is the growth of pickleball on campus. Thanks to the support we’ve received from staff, pickleball participation has more than doubled in the last year.”

Throughout the Olympic games, staff members joined in on the fun by participating in events and cheering on the Ashby Ponds athletes. 

“This year the staff supporting the Olympics were very enthusiastic,” says Sharon. “Sometimes they broke into cheerleader-type cheers and occasionally even wore tutus and waved pom poms.”

Celebrating a job well done

At the completion of this year’s Olympic games, all participants and their supportive fans enjoyed a fun-filled closing ceremony. 

Community member and Olympic participant Jack Nevitt put both his professional photography and videography skills to work, producing a much-loved Summer Olympics video shown at the ceremony.

“The video is wonderful,” says Sharon. “In addition, medals made of chocolate discs covered in gold foil with a red, white, and blue ribbon are awarded. Winners wear them proudly.”

“I’m happy to do my part,” says Jack, who won a gold medal in table tennis. “The Olympics are one of many fun events at Ashby Ponds.”