Location: Cochiti Pueblo
Once Anita Suina tried Senior Olympics 26 years ago, she was hooked.
“I really didn’t know anything about it until I went down to Las Cruces,” Suina said. “It really amazed me at the number of sports and what you can do.”
The Cochiti Pueblo athlete started out participating in track and field with her husband. But there’s no stopping Suina now as she takes part in as many events as she can.
With bowling, the bowling team, racewalk, the 1,500, shuffleboard, singles, doubles, recreation events, the line dance and a 5K run, she will be a busy woman at this year’s Senior Olympics.
“Bowling and line dance are really the ones I like the best,” Suina said. “The 5K, I like that one too. I do that with an injured knee!”
Her excitement for the upcoming games can be heard in her voice as Suina talks about her adventures from years past.
“I didn’t do (the 5K) last year,” she said. “I’m going to try that in Roswell.”
Suina started in 1987 after watching her husband participate in the games.
“I really didn’t know anything about it until I went down to Las Cruces,” Suina said “It really amazed me at the number of sports and what you can do.”
This year, she won a trophy as “Athlete of the Year” for Sandoval County.
“I was really happy for that,” she said.
Suina retired in 2002, then started working part-time before helping with Senior Olympics. One year, she drove 1 participants to the games from her region after helping raise money throughout the year. She now helps take care of seniors.
She takes it easier now, though she and her husband recently adopted a young son and she still works part-time.
Participating in the Senior Olympics is still a big part of Suina’s life, she said.
“You look forward to going to the state competition,” she said, “So, all year ’round there’s a group of athletes here, mostly women and only 5 to 6 men. A lot of athletes come out of Cochiti. All year long a group of 10 of us exercise every day at the senior center and it keeps you wanting to be healthy. Your brain works and your muscles work.”
It’s difficult to keep a diet, she said. The group participated in a “slim-to-fit” program for six months for all seniors.
“I won a night stay at Buffalo Thunder near Santa Fe,” she said. “That really keeps you wanting to do things. And it’s all Senior Olympics!”
Suina said she’s always recruiting new people for the games. This year, they recruited even more.
“I feel so good when we recruit people,” she said. “Once they see what it’s like, they sign up for next year.”