Chemists Among Senior Olympianoids | October 12, 2009 Issue - Vol. 87 Issue 41 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 87 Issue 41 | p. 63
Issue Date: October 12, 2009

Chemists Among Senior Olympianoids

Department: ACS News
Keywords: athletes, Summer National Senior Games
Dilling’s javelin-throwing skills earned honors at Stanford.
Credit: J. Masterson
Dilling’s javelin-throwing skills earned honors at Stanford.
Credit: J. Masterson

In early August, more than 10,000 athletes from around the U.S., ranging in age from 50 to 100, brought their desire for something like Olympic gold to Stanford University’s campus for the Summer National Senior Games. Competitions were held in 18 medal and 17 demonstration sports, including swimming, tennis, track and field, racquetball, and cycling. The competition was run by the group formerly known as the National Senior Olympics Organization. Since 1990, when the U.S. Olympic Commission objected to the use of “Olympics,” in its name, the nonprofit group has been known as the National Senior Sports Organization.

Included among these athletes are at least two longtime ACS members. Wendell L. Dilling, who retired in 1992 from Dow Chemical in Midland, Mich., and is currently an adjunct professor at Central Michigan University, competed in the pole vault, hammer throw, javelin throw, shot put, high jump, long jump, and triple jump in the 70–74 age category. Ultimately, he received a sixth-place award in the pole vault. Dilling qualified for the 100-meter, 400-meter, 5K, and 10K runs, but a hamstring injury prevented him from competing—this time.

Dilling served as chair of the ACS Midland Section in 2000 and as its councilor from 1976 to 1996. He started mentoring Project SEED students at Central Michigan University in 1990. He is a graduate of Manchester College, in Indiana, and holds a Ph.D. from Purdue University.

E. Gerald (Gerry) Meyer, a retired professor of chemistry and dean of arts and sciences at the University of Wyoming, competed in the 1,500-meter and 5,000-meter events, receiving a sixth-place award in the age 85–89 category. In addition to keeping in shape, Meyer has remained active in energy research.

Meyer is a B.S. and M.S. graduate of Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) and received a Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico. He is a 70-year member of ACS and served as chair of the Wyoming Local Section and the Rocky Mountain Region and councilor of the Wyoming Section. In 2005, at 85, Myer rode his motorcycle more than 250 miles from Anchorage to Fairbanks, Alaska, to attend the ACS Northwest Regional Meeting. In 2006, he received the national Award for Volunteer Service to ACS.

The next games are slated for Houston in 2011. For more information, go to, and if you’ll be at least 50 in 2011—start training.

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