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Fun and fitness blend as London 55+ Summer Games begin



Hundreds of older Londoners are warming up for a month of friendly competition in sports and social events, the emphasis on keeping active.

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Not that she’s counting, but retired math teacher Kim Benke of London has more than a few sports medals to her name.

Benke competes in women’s hockey, and was part of a 60-plus women’s team that won gold at the Canada Senior Games in British Columbia two years ago. She’s been to the Ontario Senior Games nine times, and was also an early convert to pickleball – a racquet sport rapidly spreading across North America.

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“My husband Otto and I play together,” she said of the sport she picked up in 2012.

“It was great for us, because we were able to connect with so many people and it really changed our retirement perspective. We have been very active ever since” in sports, said Benke, 67, who taught at H.B. Beal secondary school.

Benke is among more than 400 Londoners taking part in the London 55+ Summer Games that begin Tuesday in London and run into mid-June.

Kim Benke
Kim Benke competes in women’s hockey, and was part of a 60-plus women’s team that won gold at the Canada Senior Games in British Columbia two years ago. (Postmedia Network file photo)

Forget the Summer Olympic Games, with all its hoopla and pressure and crowds: These games, for people age 55 and above, are all about staying active and fit and having fun, part of a broader network of such competitions held across Ontario and the country.

Winners at the local level, in summer and winter competitions, can go on to regional or provincial and national competitions.

The summer games lineup includes more than 20 sports and activities, with events for individual competitors – from cycling, to snooker, horseshoes and 18-hole mini-golf – and for teams and pairs, in areas ranging from five-pin and lawn bowling, to tennis, pickleball and contract bridge.

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The organization behind the London Senior Games (LSG), now also known as the London 55+ Games, wants to reach more of the 100,000 Londoners in that age range to encourage them to get involved. “Senior” was recently dropped from the organization’s name, said Benke, its district co-ordinator. 

“They’re not so keen to be called seniors anymore,” she noted. 

Anyone age 55 and above can get involved. To join, registration is required through the Ontario Senior Games Association, an umbrella group, at There’s a one-time $15 registration fee.

“You still have to do something (after retiring) – that’s my philosophy, and that’s what I live by,” said 84-year-old Richard Klue of London, who will compete in five-pin bowling in the games. 

Klue joined up in 2023, and every Thursday meets up with his bowling team to practise.

“You get to meet a lot of different people,” said Klue, who worked in construction before he retired. “And we’re just out there to have fun.”

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Jane Evans, a retired nurse, said taking part in the games improves not only quality of life but physical fitness. She’s going to take part in the pickleball competition. 

“My husband and I went to the eye doctor, and she asked what we do because our eyes are so healthy for our age,” said the 82-year-old. “We told her about the LSG, and she told us to leave some information about it with the office. This is what keeps people mentally fit.” 

The summer games are being held at different locations across the city, from Springbank Park and East Park to the North London Optimist Community Centre. 

Anyone can come out to watch at no charge, Benke said. 

“It’s pretty low-key,” she said. “Spectators are welcome but rare . . . but you would be welcome everywhere.”


  • Offered each year in summer and winter, with more than 30 one-day tournaments held in individual and team sports and social activities
  • Date back to 1985
  • Games schedule is online at

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