Hennepin native grabs gold in senior games — finally
Don Clemens had to reach his golden years before he could grab the gold.
Clemens, who graduated from high school in Hennepin and grew up in the nearby suburb of Ladd, helped lead his team to a a first-place finish in the age 85-older category in three-on-three basketball at the National Senior Olympics in Birmingham, Alabama, recently, according to the Hot Springs Village Voice.
Clemens played for an Amateur Athletics Union basketball team in McNabb before joining the service. Afterward, he worked for nearly 40 years at Caterpillar in East Peoria, but kept playing ball.
After first qualifying for the National Senior Olympics in 1999, he took part in the games in Orlando and then again in 2001 in Baton Rouge, where he met the teammates he has been playing with ever since: Charles Ridgeway, Dwight Smith, Horace Plemens and Don Winn.
Clemens has gone to the games nine times and won four silver medals — in Hampton Roads, Virginia, in 2003; San Francisco in 2009; Houston in 2011; and Cleveland in 2013 — as well as one bronze in Pittsburgh in 2005.
This year, Clemens finally got his gold.
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