Se­nior Olympian brings home 8 gold medals

Record Observer - - News - By DOUG BISHOP dbishop@kibay­times.com

COLUMBIA — You’ve heard of Michael Phelps and Si­mone Biles? Great Olympians for the U.S. Olympic team com­pet­ing in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at the 31st Sum­mer Olympic Games. Both have earned many gold medals — Phelps fin swim­ming, Biles as the Al­lAround Gold medal cham­pion in gym­nas­tics. Stevensville has an Olympic gold medal­ist of its own.

Mrs. Wally Dashiell, 92, of Stevensville, who has served, un­of­fi­cially, as the Eastern Shore’s am­bas­sador for the Mary­land Se­nior Olympics for the past 20 years, com­peted in the Mary­land Se­nior Olympics the week­end of Aug. 13 and 14, in Columbia, Md., the same week­end the Queen Anne’s County Fair con­cluded and it felt like 113 de­grees out­side.

Even after a knee re­place­ment five years ago and a hip re­place­ment three years ago, Dashiell con­tin­ues to com­pete in track and field. The surg­eries side­lined Dashiell for a few years, caus­ing her to miss two Na­tional Sr. Olympic Games (Hous­ton 2013 and Min­neapo­lis 2015). How­ever, she has al­ways kept the dream of com­pet­ing alive.

“I love chal­leng­ing my­self and par­tic­i­pat­ing,” she said. “I just wish more se­niors from our area would par­tic­i­pate. When I talk to oth­ers about it, they tell me ‘my body aches.’ Well, my body aches, too. But I don’t let that stop me!”

At Columbia, she com­peted in eight events and brought home eight gold medals. She was the old­est com­peti­tor in the women’s divi­sion, com­pet­ing in the 90- to 94-year-old group.

Dashiell first com­peted in the Sr. Olympics in 1987 at age 63. She ini­tially com­peted in swim­ming events, but she switched to track and field, say­ing, “Swim­ming was too slow for me.”

She has at­tended the na­tional games in Ba­ton Rouge, La.; Or­lando, Fla., Vir­ginia Beach, Va., Pitts­burgh, Sacra­mento, Calif., Syra­cuse, N.Y., Louisville, Ky., and more.

After the surg­eries, she has been ad­vised by her doc­tors not to do any run­ning or jump­ing events, at least, not right now. So, she has ac­cepted do­ing only field events of throw­ing ob­jects.

Here are the re­sults from the Mary­land Se­nior Olympics she com­peted in Aug. 13 and 14: Shot Put — 11’7.5” Dis­cus — 26’1” Javelin — 22’2” Ham­mer Throw — 35’8” Weight Throw — 14’10.75” Foot­ball Throw — 21’10” Fris­bee Throw — 27’10” and Soft­ball Throw — 36’11” She also holds 13 Mary­land Sr. Olympics records, in dif­fer­ent age groups, dat­ing as far back as 2004, one in the Stand­ing Long Jump for women 80to 84-years-old, at 4’1”, and one in the High Jump at 2’11’, also in 2004 (be­fore her surg­eries).

All to­tal, since 1987, Dashiell has com­peted in Sr. Olympics, both state and na­tional games, 31 times. At the MSO, she has won more than 100 gold medals and count­less sil­ver and bronze. At the na­tional games, she has won 10 gold, 5 sil­ver, and 8 bronze, over the years, also set­ting a na­tional record in the Ham­mer Throw for her age group three years ago prior to her hip re­place­ment.

Sr. Olympics be­gin for both men and women at age 50. Dashiell refers to them as, “Young­sters!” The first age group goes from 50- to 54-year-old, with new age groups at five year in­cre­ments.

The Na­tional Sr. Olympics is held ev­ery other year at a dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions in the U.S. With her ac­com­plish­ments at the re­cent MSO, Dasheill has qual­i­fied for the next Na­tional Sr. Olympics, which will be next sum­mer in Birm­ing­ham, Ala. Dasheill said she has ev­ery in­ten­tion of com­pet­ing.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

Wally Dashiell of Stevensville throws the shot put for gold at the Mary­land Se­nior Olympics. She threw the shot put 11 feet seven and half inches.

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