Navy veteran Jack Faust (Veterans Affairs Department)
Navy veteran Jack Faust has won nine gold medals and two silvers the past five times he's competed at the National Veterans Golden Age Games.
Not a bad haul — especially for someone who turned 101 on April 24.
He hopes to add a few more when he competes for the sixth time at this year's games in St. Louis in late May.
He started competing more or less on a whim. He was never very interested in sports, save some sprinting and jumping in high school and watching football. But when a nurse told him about the games, the idea caught his attention.
The Department of Veterans Affairs puts on the games to promote active lifestyles for older veterans. He insists winning his medals is mostly luck and that the shot at gold isn't what brings him back each year.
"I just love the camaraderie with everybody," he said. "I just love the competition those old-timers and I had."
Veterans age 55 and up are divided into age categories and compete in cycling, bowling, checkers, croquet, dominoes, golf, horseshoes, 9-ball, shot put, discus, javelin, air rifle, shuffleboard, table tennis and swimming.
Faust plays shuffleboard and bowls from a wheelchair, and he also competes in the air rifle competition. His success there, he admitted, has been limited, and the competition stiff.
Faust served two tours with the Navy, his first in the Yangtze River Patrol after he turned 16, and his second began the day after the Pearl Harbor attack when he returned to join the Seabees.
After his discharge, he settled in California. He's been living in his Hayward, Calif., apartment for the past 50 years, and has more than two dozen grandchildren.