Wednesday, October 2, 2013
winner of 5 gold medals
By Phyllis Johnson
Joyce Jones does not give up.
At 83, the elite senior athlete has competed in all but one of the National Senior Olympics over the last 20 years, winning at least one gold medal each time. In fact, she’s won many other national and international tournaments in pickle ball, badminton and tennis for decades.
The one Senior Olympics she missed was because of knee surgery, and it was that surgery that ended -- for a time -- competing in singles tennis events.
But this year, Jones decided she would try the singles tennis competition again -- after many successful years winning medals in doubles.
To qualify for the Senior Olympics, athletes must win at the state level. So she entered the Nike Championships in Portland as a "warm up."
And warm it got.
“I was pretty rusty,” Jones recalls. “But I improved with each match I played.”
With great determination, she made it to the finals, and won the first set 6-3 against her California opponent.
“Then, I wore down,” Jones says, “and she got stronger.”
The opponent was up 5-1 in the second set, when Jones’ finely honed competitive spirit kicked into high gear.
“I decided that I absolutely did NOT want to go to a third set. Somehow or other I kept coming – I still don’t exactly know how I did it – and eventually beat her in a 7-6 tiebreaker.”
The moment, Jones, said, “was most satisfying.” To put the icing on the cake, she also went onto win Gold in the doubles event.
“I felt I was ready for the nationals.”
And ready she was. At the National Senior Olympics in Cleveland, Ohio, she entered two events in tennis, and three events in pickleball, and won Gold in all of them.
Jones is a former resident of Shoreline. She and her husband, Don, live in Bothell and attend Ronald United Methodist Church, Shoreline.