Ken Ellis

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ken Ellen had to throw the shot put left-handed at the World Police and Fire Games in March in Adelaide, Australia. He had surgery last year to repair a torn rotator cup in his right shoulder. Photo submitted

Ellis continues to participate in track and field events at 62

By Myra Bean

Retired Memphis firefighter Ken Ellis has been keeping himself busy this spring.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

He returned from Adelaide, Australia about six weeks ago where he competed in the World Police and Fire Games.

Ellis participated in the Decathlon where he had to choose the 10 events he wanted to compete in for the first two days. Then he chose to compete some more the rest of the week.

He competed in the shot put, long jump, triple jump, hammer throw, high hurdles, 300 meter hurdles, javelin throw, pole vault, discus, high jump, 100 meter, 400 meter and 1500 meter runs.

His best event was the shot put, but his favorite is the pole vault. He only medaled in the triple jump.

Last year he had to have surgery on a torn rotator cup in his right shoulder. Therefore, in the throwing events and the pole vault, he had to use his left hand.

“That was tough,” he said.

Since the World Games, Ellis has competed in the senior games at Mississippi College in 11 events. He medaled in all but the high jump.

At the senior games, he brought home five gold, two silver and three bronze medals. There were 10 states represented at the senior games.

In between those two meets, he competed in a meet at Rhodes College where eight states were represented.

Ellis said some one told him after his surgery that it was okay to quit.

Ellis has been competing in track and field events since he was a 12-year-old at Bellevue School in Memphis. He is now 62 years old.

“I just love to compete,” Ellis said. “At one of the meets there was a 91-year-old woman.”

Quitting is not on his agenda just yet. Ellis is planning to compete in the annual State Games of Mississippi on June 16 and a meet in Arkansas later on in the summer.

Ellis said he does not know how many medals he has won since he began competing, but he does give some away to youth who train and compete hard to make them feel good about themselves.

Ellis uses his time to help train some of the South Panola field athletes each spring.

His wife, Linda, travels with him when he competes.

“She is as much a part of this as I am,” Ellis said. “I couldn’t do this without her.”