Interview with Cherrie Parish Sherrard
Ambassador To Health Profile
Cherrie Sherrard is a true California treasure. She is a 66-year-old mother, teacher, coach, and super-athlete. In 1964 she participated in the Tokyo Olympic Games as a hurdler. Then in 1967 she won the hurdle event at the Canadian Pan American Games. Lately, she has been participating in the California Senior Olympic Games where she consistently has won the shotput and hurdle events in her age group for many of the past 11 years. And sports prowess runs throughout her family. Cherrie has competed against her sister Almeta in the Senior Games and one of her two sons is Mike Sherrard, a retired professional football player and former San Francisco 49er. Recently, Cherrie agreed to take time from this busy schedule to speak with Adina Licht, M.S., one of Source Naturals' nutritional scientists, about health and fitness.
Adina Licht: Was there anyone who helped you become interested in sports?
Cherrie Sherrard: I was the youngest one with three brothers and two sisters. Two of my brothers competed a lot and that's how I got interested in sports.
AL: Did any of your brothers compete too?
CS: Only two of my three brothers competed when we were young. They didn't quite make it as far as I did. But they were fairly good in high school, doing track and field and football and sports like that. Recently, my sister Almeta used to compete in the Senior Games too.
AL: What were her events?
CS: The shotput and the discus just like me. She is two years older so sometimes we competed against each other.
AL: And how was that?
CS: No problem!
AL: Is the rest of your family athletic?
CS: Oh yes. My late husband played baseball and basketball. My two sons, Mike and Roy, have also been athletic all their lives. Both of them played football and got football scholarships. Mike played professional football for 11 years. He was a first round draft choice for the Dallas Cowboys. Then he played for the San Francisco 49ers, the New York Giants and the Denver Broncos.
AL: What events do you participate in at the Senior Games?
CS: I mostly just do the shotput and the discus. Most of the time I win the shotput. That's my best event - the shotput. I used to do a lot more before my knees gave me trouble. I was an Olympic hurdler in Tokyo back in 1964 when I was young. I didn't place but I had a good time [laughs]. I used to do the heptathalon and the shotput was part of the heptathalon. Then in 1967 I did the hurdles in the Pan American games in Winnipeg Canada and won.
AL: Wow! That is amazing. I hope you won't be offended, but how old are you?
CS: There is no problem with that - I am 66. When you get to be a senior you want to get older so you can compete in the next age bracket [laughs].
AL: How long have you participated in the Senior Games?
CS: Well, when I first started you had to be 55, so I started at 55 and have been doing them ever since. Now you only have to be 50. It's a lot of fun being around the people and I want to keep doing it as long as I can. I like being there.
AL: Do you train with your sister or any other athletes?
CS: I don't train with my sister because she lives too far away. I used to live in Chico, CA for about 30 years and for 9 years I was the track and field coach at Chico State. Most of my current friends compete in the Senior Games too.
AL: How do you deal with stress in your life?
CS: I don't have stress [laughs]!
AL: What advice would you give someone who is interested in becoming more athletic?
CS: Just get out and do something. I train and I also go bowling on Wednesday nights and I do weight lifting. And when I was younger I played basketball and did track and lots of other stuff. Before my knees gave me trouble I also used to walk every day and go biking a lot. I was a teacher in Oakland for a while. Then we moved to Chico and I was a track coach there for 9 years. For me, training isn't work " it's just fun. I try to stay active. If you don't stay active, the weight just balloons up on you. And I can always do more.
AL: Thank you Cherrie!