Turning Legend into Legacy – Gary Hall

Gary Hall is a Special Olympics Kansas Hall of Fame athlete from the KCK Kings and he has been involved with Special Olympics since Kansas’ founding in 1969! Gary has been on many journeys and he has worked with many athletes. His favorite sports have been Bowling, Basketball, and Track and Field. 10 years ago, Gary noticed that his health was declining and that he needed to make some lifestyle changes. He then made a commitment to health and lost 45 pounds. (Just before Gary’s interview for the blog, he said that he finished 12 miles of biking for the SONA Move Challenge on his at-home stationary bicycle.) Gary then discussed the importance of consistency and how exercise and healthy eating have no days off. He says, “If you want to be healthy, you have to do it every day.” His healthy habits have made him feel big and strong and he states that he rarely gets sick.

Most recently, Gary and his sister Gay, have been participating in SOKS Health and Fitness programs to weather the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gary has participated in the SOKS I-70 Challenge, the SOKS Parks and Trails Tour, the SONA Stride Challenge, the SOKS Grow a Garden Program, and both SONA Move Challenges. These programs have helped him in his sports, health, and leadership. Through sports, Gary has felt faster and more agile. Biking, walking, and eating healthy has “really relieved the arthritis in his hips,” his sister states. Some tips that they gave were to eat homemade foods. “Stay away from processed and fast foods.” This summer, they made pasta sauce and salsa with tomatoes that they grew in their garden. Gary’s sister states that “Gary has been an inspiration to all of us. He leads by example and his nephews really look up to him. He does a great job encouraging everyone to exercise and stay fit.”

Gary plans to continue his health journey forever. He says, “When I’m 70, I want to be happy, healthy, and wise.” His advice for all athletes is “Exercise, eat right, and smile.”