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Three Copper Country residents win medals at Senior Olympics

December 16, 2010
By Zach Kukkonen Houghton Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - As most people get older, their willingness to work out and train tends to decrease, as aches and pains start to take over.

Some do buck that trend, however, as exemplified by Dick Mintken and a few other Copper Country residents who compete in the Senior Olympics.

Mintken, Brian Ricci and Stephen Smith all took home gold medals recently at the Wisconsin State Senior Olympics.

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Mintken, competing in the 65-69 age division, won a gold medal in the shot put (34 feet, 1 inch) and silver medal in the discus (106'-1").

Ricci, competing in the 50-54 division, won a gold medal in the long jump (15'-3 1/2"), and also garnered silver medals in the 100 meter dash (13.15 seconds), the 200-meter run (27.04 seconds) and high jump (4'-9").

Smith, meanwhile, earned a gold medal in the 50-54 division in the discus with a throw of 108 feet, 1/2 inch.

"It's a challenge," Mintken said. "It keeps you training.

"I train quite a bit, four days a week at least, lifting in the weight rooms a couple days a week."

Mintken said he owes his Senior Olympics experience to fellow Copper Country resident Richard Dana, who introduced him to the competition and who usually competes alongside Mintken.

"It's something I didn't even know existed until I met Richard Dana," Mintken said.

Residing in Florida during the winter, Mintken continues his training regimen and competing, winning multiple gold medals at the Florida Senior Olympics in addition to winning in Wisconsin and Michigan.

"It's a great activity," Mintken said. "It's a fun time, and it's a way of having goals - setting goals and doing your training and staying with it just like you were when you were younger."

The Senior Olympics have now been around for more than 25 years, and Mintken said it does a whole lot of good in keeping people active, even into their triple digits.

"I was in a meet where there was an 104-year-old in the 50- or 60-yard dash, and I've seen a 102-year-old competing in golf," Mintken said.

The national Senior Olympics occur every other year, and with their gold medal wins, Smith, Mintken and Ricci all have the opportunity to travel to Houston, Texas, to compete against the best of the best in the United States.

"I competed last year in the senior (nationals) at Stanford University," Mintken said. "I was fourth in the hammer and fifth in the shot put."

For more information about the Senior Olympics, go to



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