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Archive for Tuesday, September 15, 1998

SENIOR OLYMPIAN GOING STRONG

September 15, 1998

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Senior Olympian Scotty Harjo isn't slowing at the age of 70.

``I'm a young pup compared to some of the athletes,'' said Harjo, now retired, a former Haskell residence hall director and longtime Lawrence resident.

Harjo will compete in volleyball, basketball, track, softball and bowling at the Kansas Senior Olympics from Sept. 24 to Oct. 11 in Topeka.

The top two finishers in each individual and team event qualify for the Senior Nationals in November in Orlando, Fla.

``I remember in 1991 in Syracuse, there was a man in a wheelchair who was 93 or 94. He got out of the wheelchair, put one leg over another and won the gold medal in his age group in the standing long jump. He said, `I won my age group.' I just said I hope I'm still competing when I'm in my 90s,'' Harjo said.

Harjo -- he has a national bowling title and shuffleboard crown to his credit -- still competes for a reason. A natural, he took national honors in shuffleboard shortly after being introduced to the event.

``I want to show people who are 55, 60, 70, it's not the end of the line,'' Harjo said. ``I want them to look at me and say, `I can beat that guy.' Then they'll come out and compete.

``I talk to people all the time and say, `Can you shoot baskets? Can you play ball?' They'll say, `I used to, but my leg, my arm.' They give excuses. I'd like to get more people out there.''

He relishes being a good example for Native Americans.

``I went to one event in South Dakota. There was one Indian. He competed in billiards,'' Harjo said. ``I want more people to say, `I can beat Scotty. I will compete.'''

-- Gary Bedore's phone message number is 832-7186. His e-mail address is gbedore@ljworld.com.

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