South Dakota farmer is oldest athlete at National Senior Games

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HIGHMORE The oldest athlete in this year's National Senior Games is also from South Dakota.

John Zilverberg, a retired rancher from the Highmore area will be competing in four events this week at the ripe age of 102.

“Course I always try to win” 102 year-old athlete, John Zilverberg admitted.

John Zilverberg is proof that a competitive spirit never grows old.
He is the oldest of three athletes to make it the 100 plus age group.
"But also the competition isn't as tough, you're only competing with the other people that are over 100 years old," Zilverberg said.

This week he will be competing in the discus, shot put, javelin and softball throw

“I was winning shot put, I won a gold medal in that” Zilverberg said.

This South Dakota farmer is no stranger to gold medals.

“I'm kind of proud of them that's why I've got them displayed on the wall” he said.

This will be his 30th year competing in the senior games.

“It was 84 when the senior games started. My brother got in the first year, then I heard about it and I got in in 85 and I haven't missed a game since competing in the senior games” he explained.

Zilverberg says they started the games to keep active after retiring from a long career of raising cattle in South Dakota.

“Since I retired from the ranch I do exercises to keep my arms in shape. My one leg gave out on me, so I can't do the running and jumping events anymore, but I keep my arms in shape throwing some dumbbells around you know,” he said.

But that's not all this 102 year old does to stay in shape.

“I like to bowl and I joined the golf league.” He elaborated.

He says all of it has helped him enjoy his long and healthy life.

“Just like everything else it’s a challenge and you try to accomplish something and I'd say I did as far as that goes”, he said.