After Bob Aldredge, an 85-year-old resident of Otterbein Senior Life in Lebanon, OH, won a gold medal in an international pole vaulting competition, Otterbein Senior Life employees and friends lined the halls to welcome him home and celebrate, and Ohio Sen. Steve Wilson presented him with a citation. (See the accompanying video below.)
Aldredge placed first in the World Masters Track and Field Championship competition Sept. 12 in Malaga, Spain. He took the gold by vaulting 5 feet, 10 inches, edging out the second-place competitor, from Finland, who vaulted 5 feet, 5 inches. Six final competitors in the 85-to-89 age group represented five countries, including two from the United States.
Last year in Toronto, Aldredge placed first in the Canadian National Championship, which included athletes from North America, Central America and the Caribbean.
To keep in shape, Aldredge does leg lifts while hanging from gymnastic rings in his garage to maintain strength in his abdominal muscles, swims every day at the local YMCA and lifts weights twice a week.
He began pole vaulting in high school and resumed the sport in 2002, 14 years after retiring from the U.S. Air Force, deciding he needed to become more physically fit. Since that time, he has lost weight, improved his health and become stronger physically than he was before he took up his sport again, according to Otterbein Senior Life.
His message to fellow residents and other older adults is: “You have more control over your health than you realize. A regular exercise program and proper nutrition is where to begin.”
Aldredge also volunteers his time at Bishop Fenwick High School, coaching both boys and girls in the sport. And he is a member of a senior pole vaulting group.
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