Robert Sliger of LifeCare of Cleveland was the leading performer, although the games had not yet begun. Sliger, who does not look his 90 years of age, volunteered through LifeCare’s Annette Smith to participate in Monday’s kickoff celebration.
Sliger not only participated, he served as the torchbearer for the opening ceremony. He paraded through the streets of downtown Chattanooga with the game’s torch held high in the air.
Sliger has been a resident of Cleveland for several years, and he and his late wife took up residency at Garden Plaza five years ago. Smith, who works with the Garden Plaza residents, says Sliger earns his running ability honestly. “He walks along the Cleveland Greenway, near Garden Plaza, almost every day,” she said.
Not only was Sliger the focal point of Monday’s opening day festivities, he has also agreed to participate in the power-walk competition on Thursday.
Monday’s ceremony gave this year’s games a fanciful kickoff, not only for Sliger, but for other seniors from throughout Southeast Tennessee. The senior games are being held this week in several communities across the state.
Sliger has a son and daughter who live out of state, and he keeps in good shape with his daily walks. The walks, and his physical fitness, may lead him to a Special Olympics victory later this week.
Medals are being awarded in various activities over six successive days in the Chattanooga area.