From left to right, Bill Wambach, Ladislav Sranko, William Payne and Candy Christenson
For 60 years, Candy Christenson has been churning through the water, swimming workouts and competing at high levels. She was a collegiate swimmer shortly after Title 9 was enacted and has been a constant figure in the pool since then. Her involvement with WSO goes back to the early 2000s. In one of her first competitions, she set a record in Women’s (55-59) 200 Meter Breaststroke that still stands today! She currently holds four swimming records with WSO, set as recently as 2018.
Although her best events are the Breaststroke and Individual Medley (IM), she is also very successful at Freestyle. Even more amazing is her ability to swim sprints and long distance with equal success. Anyone who can medal in a 50-yard Breaststroke along with a 400 IM is a remarkable athlete!
Candy enjoys competing nationally and has participated in the National Senior Games. Remarkably, she has several top ten finishes in the last three NSGA games. Candy is looking forward to the upcoming NSGA games in Albuquerque.
For more than eight decades, Bill Payne has been a competitive swimmer. Along the way, he has compiled medals, ribbons and records. He has been a WSO athlete since 1995.
Currently, he holds four state records dating all the way back to 2004. Swimming primarily Butterfly and Individual Medley, he has numerous top ten finishes in the National Senior Games from 2005 to 2017. The 2017 games in Birmingham yielded four medals for Bill. He estimates that he has acquired 40 medals from WSO games, ten from Badger State Games and 15 from National Senior Games. At the age of 89, he still swims and competes at a very high level.
Ladislav began his table tennis career at the age of nine in his native Slovakia. Today, at age 65, he has become a master in the sport through his own victories and those of the youth national team he coaches.
In 2013, he began competing in WSO and has numerous medals in mixed doubles, doubles and singles for table tennis. He is the current reigning champion in men’s doubles with a first-place finish in the 2018 games.
Representing Wisconsin in the National Senior Games in 2015, he brought home gold medals in the 60-64 Mixed Doubles and Doubles events. He added a silver medal in Singles at those games in Minneapolis. Competing in Birmingham in 2017, Ladislov won gold in singles and bronze medals in mixed doubles and doubles. He will reunite with his doubles partner to take on the competition in Albuquerque this June.
Bill Wambach is a 93-year-old track and field superstar. He got his start in the sport in 1939 when he won his first medal at a half-mile race in West Allis. Since then, his achievements are consistently impressive.
He began competing in WSO in 1991 and has set nine records overall. He is the current record holder in Men’s 80-84 Long Jump (2005), 85-89 High Jump (2010), and 90-94 High Jump (2016), Long Jump (2015) and Triple Jump (2017).
Bill has competed in seven National Senior games, winning seven medals along the way. He set an NSGA national record in 2007 in the high jump. As a participant in the Master’s Track and Field event, he set a national record in the High Jump in 2006 at the age of 80 and was named Athlete of the Year.
From left to right, Bill Gilmore, Stephanie Sue Stein, Harvey Pollack, Mike Kirkwood
Bill Gilmore of Janesville is a second generation WSO Hall of Fame member. His talents vary from competing in the 100 meter dash to completing marathons, triathlons and biking time trials.
His achievements in multiple sports are impressive. Competing since 2009, he has been awarded a total of 34 WSO medals over the years. He holds the WSO records for the 5K Cycling Time Trial (Men’s 50-54) and the 5K Road Race (Men’s 55-59). Bill has competed in the National Senior Games three times in Triathlon and won two silvers and a bronze among competitors from around the country.
Bill has completed 14 Ironman Triathlons including the world championship in Kona, Hawaii, 46 marathons (including the prestigious Boston Marathon, four times) and 17 Birkebeiners cross country ski races. In five of the marathons, Bill was the overall winner as well.
He is involved with young runners as the former cross country coach for 18 years at St. Mary’s school in Janesville. His boys’ team won the Lutheran school state championship. Talk about setting an example and passing down the tradition of staying fit and active to the next generations!
Mike Kirkwood began his running career at West Division High School in Milwaukee in the 1950s. He learned about the WSO when he was in his 60s and has been a competitor since that time. As a middle distance runner, he competes in both track and the 5k run.
In 2017, he set 3 records in the 75-79 age group- 800m, 1500m and 5k runs. In addition, he is the current record holder in the 5k for both the 65-69 and 70-74 age groups. His most recent showings for the 5k at the National Senior games (2015 and 2017) was an impressive 2nd place for both those competitions.
Mike recognizes the value that active participation in exercise plays in one’s health. As a pharmacist, he has encouraged better health through activity, which may eliminate need for medications. One of his favorite quotes is: “You are not defeated if you’re still willing to fight."
Harvey Pollack is an exemplary participant in the Wisconsin Senior Olympics. His long history of competition focuses on track and field. In addition to competing, he is an integral WSO Board member and is active on numerous committees.
As a long time participant in track and field, he is a multiple gold medal winner, year after year. He specializes in the high jump, long jump and triple jump, and, on occasion, has medaled in the 400 meters. Harvey has been a WSO athlete since 2004, and has participated in three National Senior Games.
Harvey states, “Not only do I enjoy competing, but I also enjoy the interaction with other athletes. Many times we try to help one another with techniques that assist with improvement. My ultimate goal in track and field is to set a world record in the high jump. Stay tuned!”
Stephanie Sue Stein
In the state of Wisconsin there is one name synonymous with advocacy for older adults, Stephanie Sue Stein. She is most well-known for serving as the Director of the Milwaukee County Department on Aging (MCDA). Stein was instrumental in bringing needed services to seniors in Milwaukee County, with her biggest accomplishment being the development of the Family Care long term care program.
Stephanie Sue Stein’s support of the Wisconsin Senior Olympics (WSO) has also been evident through her participation as the Master of Ceremonies for the Celebration of Athletes event. Stein often identified and supported wellness opportunities for older adults. The WSO is an avenue for seniors to remain active and improve their quality of life. She also advocated for the WSO to provide scholarships for older adults who wanted to participate, but may have had hardship with being able to afford the registration fees.
The state of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Senior Olympics is fortunate to have Stephanie Sue Stein as a leader, supporter and advocate for older adults.
Both an athlete and volunteer, David Hoffman, 82, believes in the power of competition as a motivator for people to keep active.
Hoffman has run in nine 5Ks and took first place in all competitions. In Track and Field, Hoffman won gold in the 200 meter once and the 400 meter three times and the 1500 five times. He currently holds the following records:
· 2009 5K—26.10 minutes (Men’s 75-79)
· 2014 5K—29.19 (Men’s 80-84)
· 2014 1500 meter—5.53 seconds (Men’s 80-84)
Dave joined the WSO Board in 2008 as the representative of the Milwaukee County of Aging by Stephanie Stein. He has served on most Board committees and is currently the Vice President. He also is the Event Coordinator of the 5K race since 2013 and introduced the 5K Walk and is the inspiration behind “The Olympian,” the WSO’s first very own 5K and event for people of all ages.
Richard “Dick” Naslund, 92, has always participated in competitive and recreational sports. Before entering service and after service, Dick played football at UW-Oshkosh. He pitched for the Villanova University baseball team for two years and played some semi-pro ball in his younger years.
He discovered the Wisconsin Senior Olympics in 2002 and hasn’t missed its annual games, or the National Senior Games, since he began. Naslund has earned five medals in national competition and many in the WSO games. He has been a model of sportsmanship in a variety of sports, including tennis, softball, basketball, track and field and pickleball. But that isn’t what motivates him. He has been a tireless recruiter who inspires others to try new sports, and to not let age hold them back.
In 2016, National Senior Games Association’s Awards Committee selected Dick as the Inaugural Male Athlete of the Year—one of the highest honors an athlete can achieve.
James Reiher, 72 of Delafield is a multi-year champion in both triathlon and cycling. Spanning more than a decade, he has competed in 25 triathlons while a WSO member. From 2004-2015, he was a National Senior Games qualifier. He completed triathlons at the national level in 2007, 2009 and 2015. In addition, he has volunteered at the National Senior Games and has supported the WSO for many years.
His Cycling history is impressive as well, having competed in time trials, road races, duathlons and Race Across America. As a participant in WSO from 2004-2015, he was a National Senior Games qualifier and competed in the national games in 2007 and 2009.
A World War II refugee and Russian prisoner of war camp survivor, Edith Schultz came to America in 1948. Her journey with the Wisconsin Senior Olympics began 10 years ago.
Schultz competes in Swimming and has won 29 Gold medals in breast stroke, sidestroke and backstroke. While an accomplishment on its own, what makes Edith extraordinary is that she is 93 years old.
In the Swimming Novice category which Edith competes, the WSO does not track records. However, Edith holds them all, being the only female to compete in the 90-95 age group.
With a commitment to practicing on a weekly basis, Edith has set an amazing example of what one can accomplish with dedication and hard work. She has encouraged others to join her in the swimming competition over the years at her senior living community, Cedar Campuses in West Bend.
Having competed in the Wisconsin Senior Olympics for over ten years, Margaret Kaufman has left her mark in our Track & Field record books. She continues to hold the following records:
She competed in the WSO from 2005 through 2009 and 2012 and 2013, winning medals in each of her events. Congratulations Margaret on your achievements!
In the past 14 years, Cy Swiecichowski has been a competitor in the Wisconsin Senior Olympics in Lawn Bowling, Shuffleboard, Basketball (3-3 and Free Throw), Horseshoes and Softball.
In addition, he also coaches softball teams who compete in the WSO and had three of his teams competing in the 2015 National Senior Games in Minneapolis. His combined teams had over 51 players at the games. He also had a team at the 2013 National Senior Games in Cleveland, Ohio – they won second place there. Since 2006, his softball teams playing in the WSO have won nine championships and two second place medals.
His own WSO achievements include winning six gold medals and a silver medal in Horseshoes.
Donald H. Schambow
Myrtle E. Tetting
Mary Janice Younger
W. Morgan Byers