26th Annual National Veterans Gold Age Games

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- More than 800 athletes from all across the country have been in St. Louis since Thursday, going for the gold, spending a little green and saluting the red white and blue.

The event is the 26th annual National Veterans Golden Age Games, which brings together vets 55 and older who are in the VA medical system, to compete in Olympic style competition.

About half the competitors live in VA hospitals, the rest are outpatients.  

Dale Hosler, an army veteran who served in the Korean War, is part of a team from Fresno, California. One of his events is the javelin.

"We threw it in practice about ten times and that`s it. This is the first time they ever had (javelin) so no one knows anything about it. We even had trouble with our veteran`s home finding a javelin we could practice with," he said.

Other events include shuffleboard and checkers.

The oldest competitor this year, and for the past several years, is Jack Faust from Hayward, California. He is 101 years old and at last year`s games, he won the gold medal for wheelchair bowling.

"Oh they are just wonderful. The camaraderie and everything, I just look forward to seeing everybody especially being the oldest," Faust said.

"The service puts a lot of emphasis on physical conditioning so a lot of these men and women here competing still have a lot of those desires, they are a little bit older but they still have those desires to show they can still do things physically," said Michael Galloucis, the Veterans Administration`s Executive in Charge of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs.

Along with the competition, the games often unite old war  buddies who haven`t seen each other in decades, like St. Louisan Ed Rousan, who ran into a man in the hotel lobby he had not seen since the days of the Vietnam war.

"If it wasn`t for these games, we probably wouldn`t have seen each other again, and here I met somebody that 40 years ago we used to hang out at the same places together, and he knew people that were in my squadron and it is just unbelievable," Rousan said.

The games are open to spectators, and are being held at venues all over town, with closing ceremonies scheduled for Tuesday night.

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