Gloria Allen is showing it’s never too late to be a champion.
At age 72, the regular Legion darts player just won two gold medals at the Canada 55-plus Games in Kamloops, B.C., which ran from Aug. 22 to 26.
Allen said she was thrilled to take the top podium in the mixed doubles and ladies doubles, with teammates John Hadvick, from Whitehorse, and Janet Kennedy-Hynes, from Lake Erie, Ont., in the 65 and older category. This was a first for her in her 16 years of the sport.
“I played in the ladies singles and I didn’t make it into the playoffs,” said Allen. “But then a lady and I that they partnered me with, we won the gold medal. Then I was partnered with a fellow in the mix and we won another gold.
“This was the first time I ever won a gold. I’ve won bronze and silver. It felt awesome, especially taking the gold for both the Yukon and NWT.”
Drawn to the sport because of its competitive nature, Allen said she’s been playing in local leagues for a long time. She also frequently makes her way to the Canada Summer Games, held every two years, as a fun way to get around and see the country. She’s gone to seven of those Games now, having made her first trip in 2006, though she adds she’s been playing darts since long before that.
She noted the games tend to attract a fairly regular crowd, so she’s made a number of extended friendships she keeps up with at the biannual gatherings.
This year, she went by herself, but added in previous years fellow dart players and other athletes have made the trip.
“I love the camaraderie,” she said. “The next one is going to be in Trois-Rivières, Que., so that’s a long time to decide anyway. I like to go because its national and all the provinces get to apply to host, so being able to plan to go to places like Cape Breton, Manitoba, New Brunswick — it’s something to look forward to.
“Plus, a lot of the dart players are also Legion dart players, so we have a lot of district dart playdowns so I know a lot of them from there.”
With her new medals hanging proudly, Allen said she’s readying herself for another season of league play at the Inuvik Legion McInnes Branch.
As for her secret, it’s just practice, practice, practice.
“Our dart league is going to be starting the third week in September, so we’ll move forward and prepare for whatever competition comes along,” she said.
She added anyone who wants to attend the Canada 55-plus Games should check out their website at https://canada55plusgames.com and start planning their trip now.