Who said you can’t break athletic records at 86 years old?
Because that’s exactly what Kelowna’s Cliff Serwa did at the Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah.
In an event that features more than 11,000 athletes from more than 33 countries, Serwa capped off an outstanding year. He won four gold medals in cycling at the Games in the 85-89 age group, and was also named the top performer in his age bracket.
“I’m of course very pleased and in a way surprised,” said Serwa. “I’ve worked very hard in the training program, and I’ve had an exceptionally good year.”
Earlier this year, the former MLA and co-founder of Big White Ski Resort also collected three gold medals at the 55+ BC Games in Victoria and three more gold medals at the 55+ Canada Games in Kamloops.
“The most meaningful thing for me is that I was able to break records in my age and class,” said Serwa, who’s going to be moving up from the ‘experienced class’ (division two) to the ‘expert class’ (division one) after this performance.
He set records in the hill climb, road rage, time trail events in his age division and recorded better times than competitors in division one.
“It was a very successful, rewarding, fulfilling experience but the most exhilarating thing of all is to be in a group of bright-eyed, bushy tailed people that are full of life and striving to be the best they can be,” said Serwa. “It was an amazing event and it took place in a very beautiful part of Utah. It was a great experience. The whole thing was extremely well done. It couldn’t have been done any better.”
While the Huntsman Senior Games was his last event for the calendar year, Serwa is looking forward to competing in division one at the games next year as well as trying to take part in the American National Senior Games in Pittsburgh.
“We’re always full of dreams, it’s a great way to be I think,” said Serwa. “Sometimes you achieve the dreams, sometimes you don’t.”
Serwa isn’t the only athlete from the Okanagan Valley to hold records at the Huntsman Senior Games. Kelowna’s Donna Nicholas and Vernon’s Olav Stana also hold multiple records in different age groups at the games.
He continues to cycle around Kelowna with a group he said is loosely called ‘The Posse’, who ride anywhere from 50 to 100 kilometres a week.
Serwa is the grandfather of Kelsey Serwa, who won gold in the women’s ski cross at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Korea.