Mississippi Senior Olympics coming to Coast in April

Senior Olympians are working hard in preparation for the upcoming Mississippi Senior Olympics, which kicks off April 9 at various sites along the Coast. The games end May 22.

MSO publicity chairman Gwen Impson said this is the second year the event has been held locally.

In 2015, the Mississippi Senior Olympics merged with the Gulf Coast Senior Games with the new headquarters in Biloxi," Impson said. "This makes it more convenient for locals who no longer have to travel several hours to participate."

Impson said the senior games also are good for the Coast's tourism industry with about 800 people expected to participate.

"Having the games on the Gulf Coast draws senior athletes from across the country since they do not have to be a Mississippi resident to participate," she said. "Individuals and families travel to our games because of what we have to offer on the Gulf Coast -- great weather, great food and great times."

To qualify for the games, Impson said participants must be at least 50 years old.

"The games are divided up by sex and in five-year increments -- for example 50 to 54, 55 to 59 and so on," she said.

Impson said there will be more than 25 events in this year's Mississippi Senior Olympics.

"There will be some indoor and some outdoor events," she said. "There are single, partner and team events."

The events range from the traditional such as archery and swimming to more unique fare such as pickleball and bean bag baseball.

Impson said there is something for people of all skill levels.

"Some events require training and stamina like the triathlon while others require practice and skill like darts and horseshoes," she said. "Some are just plain fun like line dancing. You may participate in one or more events, schedule permitting."

The MSO is part of the National Senior Games Association. It is a qualifying round for the national senior olympics that will held in Birmingham in 2017.

The MSO offers the perfect motivation to get moving, try a new sport or pick up one that you enjoyed years ago," Impson said. "It's never too late to become more physically active."