Black Mountain resident wins 18 medals at North Carolina State Senior Games

Ty Roush
Black Mountain News
David Shepard earned 13 gold, four silver and one bronze across events in 10 categories.

David Shepard won big at the North Carolina Senior Games.

The Black Mountain resident won 13 gold medals, four silver and one bronze across 30 events. Shepard, who says he has been running since seventh grade, said he was able to find success in various events.

“I knew how to swim since I was a kid as well, but I never competed in swimming,” Shepard said. “And then they were competing, basically, and all these events are available, so I said why not. It’s fun.”

Shepard won medals across 10 categories of events, including track, swimming, bicycling and table tennis.

Approximately 850 state residents competed in this year’s finals which were held virtually because of pandemic restrictions. Though Shepard would have been required to compete in the Asheville-Buncombe Senior Games as a qualifier for state competition, restrictions enabled him to directly compete with state competition.

Despite the number of participants, Shepard says he was able to win his medals because not many were able to compete this year.

“It was fun,” Shepard said. “It was a blessing. I don’t do it for the medals, but it’s fun, and because of the lack of participation, I get more medals than I deserve.”

The Asheville-Buncombe Senior Games are held by Asheville Parks and Recreation in partnership with the YMCA and Black Mountain Recreation and Parks. Local games are scheduled to be held by spring of next year and will serve as a qualifying event for state finals.

Shepard said that because of restrictions, participating in swimming events caused various competing errors. While some had registered for the events, only a few posted their times, he said.

With the prospect of potentially participating in-person next year, Shepard said he is looking forward to competing again.

“It was a fun experience, and I enjoyed it,” he said. “And, hopefully, I’m not sure how we’re going to do it next year, but we can get more participation … and then maybe by the time the state comes around, they can do it in person, and then the national (events) will be awesome.”

Shepard added they he had planned to participate the previous year but missed the registration date. 

NCSG started in 1983 to promote health and wellness among adults 55 years or older. The minimum age has since been lowered to 50.