For more than 50 years, Carol Remley lived as a sports spectator. She was the supportive wife and mother, attending games played by her husband, Ken, and their three children.
In 2003, Carol decided she no longer wanted to be only a spectator. She and Ken, 73 and 75 respectively, started playing with a local seniors badminton group. Ken picked up archery as a Senior Games sport that year, and Carol joined him a few years later.
Along with multiple-gold-medal-winning swimmer Joan Wayne, the Remleys have become some of the most decorated local athletes in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Senior Games. The three will be competing in the national games in Houston, starting this week.
Wayne, 86, participated in the first Charlotte-Mecklenburg Senior Games in the late 1980s. She since has compiled a resume at her level that would rival some of the greatest Olympians.
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Wayne currently holds 28 state Senior Games records in numerous events and age groups and owns national marks in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke events in the 80- to 84-year-old age group.
She set her national records at Pittsburgh in 2005 (100 yards) and at Louisville, Ky., in 2007 (200 yards). Wayne also holds the national Senior Games second-best time in the 200 yards (2007) and the third-best time in the 100 yards (2005).
"I'm not really competitive," Wayne said. "I just swim for the enjoyment."
Like many local competitors, Wayne said she felt the national games in San Francisco in 2009 was too far to travel, and she did not attend. This year she will compete in the 85-89 age group in six events: the 100- and 200-yard freestyle, 50-, 100- and 200-yard breaststroke, and the 100-yard individual medley.
Wayne thought that this year might be her "last hurrah" in terms of national competitions until she found out that the 2013 games will be held outside Cleveland, a trip she feels she's capable of handling.
The Remleys also skipped the 2009 national games because of the distance, so Ken didn't have the opportunity to defend the gold medal he won in 2007. He finished first in the 70- to 74-year-old division of the barebow recurve competition, in which no sights or any other aids are used on the bow.
Standing 6-feet-9-inches tall, Ken has always been athletic. He played college basketball and was drafted by the NBA's Detroit Pistons in 1960, though he never played in a regular-season game.
Ken competed in his first national Senior Games in 2005. He shot his first two of the required three rounds in archery but had to skip the third round so that he could play with his doubles partner in the badminton competition, disqualifying him from the archery competition.
In 2007, the year Ken won his national gold medal, Carol competed in archery at the state games. Ken has won the state championship every year since 2005, and Carol has done the same since 2007.
To prepare for this year's competition, the Remleys have been practicing at the Mecklenburg Wildlife Club on Sam Wilson Road. They shoot two days in a row because that will be the format at the national competition.
The Remleys have become such advocates of Senior Games that they serve as official ambassadors, speaking to groups and organizations about the benefits of the programs. They often make presentations as a threesome: Ken, Carol and Ken's national gold medal.