Senior Olympian brings home 8 gold medals
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.
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.