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In 2015, Lotus Dibelius and her tennis partners won gold in both mixed and women’s doubles at the National Senior Olympics. “Of course, I was in a younger group then,” Lotus laughs. “We were with the 80 to 85 year-olds.”
Now 86, Lotus was in her late 50s when she started competing in the Senior Games in tennis and track. The first year she ran the 100 in 17.9 seconds and won the gold. The next year, at age 60, she ran it in 17.10 seconds. And the medals just kept coming.
Lotus began playing tennis when she was 25 and has played on a USTA team for decades. “Everybody I play with are mostly a lot younger and I usually beat them,” she says. “They all say ‘Lotus, I want to be like you.’”
For Lotus, tennis was always a family affair. Her husband, Ron, coached tennis at Boise State for many years and all five of her children played as well. She fondly recalls winning a trip with her son Kevin to compete at the US Open in New York, and the next year Ron and daughter Karla winning the same trip. She also won a tournament and got to play with Cliff Drysdale against Dennis Ralston. She and Ron won trips to Colorado, Texas and Kiawah Island and many tournaments over the years.
But all those years on the court have taken a toll on Lotus’s knees. Dr. Darby Webb, her St. Luke’s orthopedic surgeon, treated her knee pain with injections for about four years before eventually performing a complete surgical replacement of her left knee in 2017. Lotus made a swift recovery.
“I was back on the court within two months,” she says. “The exercises Dr. Webb gave me to do before surgery really helped. And I think just being healthy helped, too.”
She still gets injections in her right knee and wears a brace when she plays. “I’ll probably have to have surgery eventually,” she says, “but I get the shots now and it’s still going well. Dr. Webb is so great; she’s done a good job with me.”
Lotus is still playing tennis twice a week with no plans to slow down. “I’ve been blessed with good health,” she says. “And I exercise every single morning—weights, yoga or aerobics. And you’ve got to have a good attitude. I just really like playing tennis. I never want to quit.”
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