By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
Each passing year, the medals become more meaningful for Lee Calvert. Just competing at her age is remarkable. To perform at the level she does is a testament to her dedication to her sport and her resolve to defy Father Time.
Winning never gets old for the longtime Tahitian Terrace resident who swept the singles, doubles and mixed doubles gold medals in table tennis at the Huntsman World Senior Games last week in St. George, Utah.
Now 93 years young, Calvert seems to be getting better with age and even an unexpected setback couldn’t prevent her from doing what she set out to do.
“I injured my left arm and couldn’t hit a backhand—which is my best shot,” said Calvert, an active member of the Pacific Palisades Optimist Club. “I was on a bus on my way into Utah, there was a terrible accident that caused a five-hour delay and I wanted to zone out, so I curled up in my seat, putting weight on my left side and when I got up my arm was all black and blue. As a result, I had to default the ratings event (where you get points for beating younger players), but I felt it was successful under the circumstances.”
Calvert, the oldest player, male or female, won the 90+ singles, the 85+ doubles with Leurene Hildenbrand of Ohio and the mixed doubles with Joe Jenkins, also of Ohio. She also met up with her old badminton partner Joyce Jones, “a baby at 86.”
A member of the USA Badminton Hall of Fame, Calvert underwent knee replacement surgery when she was 87. Missing competition, she took a table tennis class at Santa Monica College and has been hooked on the sport ever since.
“I might go to the World Veteran Championships in Las Vegas in June,” added the energetic Calvert, who drove to San Diego on Saturday to visit her youngest granddaughter Catherine, a former soccer player at UCLA.
Joining Calvert in Utah was Tahitian Terrace neighbor Cynthia Cuza, who played in the 75+ division.
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