Lee Calvert: Palisades’ Own “Wonder Woman”
Lee Calvert, 94, returned from The Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah, with three gold medals in table tennis.
She took the woman’s single championship, doubles for women 85-89 with partner Leurene Hildenbrand (86) of Hartville, Ohio, and mixed doubles with Joe Jenkins (92) of Dayton, Ohio.
Much like the Olympics, the Games were held from October 8 through October 20, with different sports held on select dates.
Calvert, a longtime Palisadian, accumulated numerous national and international medals in badminton before knee surgery, at 87, sidelined her from that sport. She’s a member of the Badminton Hall of Fame.
After retiring, Calvert said, “I missed the competition,” so she went to Santa Monica College and took a class in table tennis. Now’s a recognized athlete in that sport, too.
Calvert, a member of the Palisades Optimist Club, told Circling the News that “at the championship, people crowded around to watch. They don’t just give the medals to you [because of age].”
Asked how she stays in such excellent shape, Calvert said, “I think it’s nutrition and physical activity.” She works out at the Palisades-Malibu YMCA on a regular basis. She also belongs to the Chamber of Commerce, and usually has a smile for everyone she meets.
The Huntsman Games began in 1987 as the World Senior Games, an international senior sports competition. Founded by Daisy and John H. Morgan, Jr., the Games began with their vision of an international sports gathering for men and women ages 55 and older.
Two years later, Jon M. Huntsman, chairman of the Huntsman Corporation, became the Games’ principal sponsor. The minimum age requirement is now 50, so as to include more athletes.
The Games attract athletes from as far away and Japan and Russia. In addition to athletic events, the organizers provide health screenings as well as concerts, dances and socials for the athletes.
Calvert said she’s planning on defending her championships next year.