Yong, a retired DeKalb Schools assistant principal, is training to defend his 2004 gold medal in swimming in the 2005 DeKalb Senior Olympics set for May 16-26 at venues across the county.
"My goal is to someday get a gold [medal] in the nationals," said Yong, who will turn 79 in July and has competed in state and national seniors finals.
This year, Yong is one of more than 300 competitors who have signed up for the 2005 Games. That's up from 150 competitors in the 2004 Games.
"We're going to have a really nice turnout," said Alice Bradford, registration coordinator for the Senior Olympics.
The annual Senior Olympics, which is in its ninth year, offers adults ages 50 and older the opportunity to compete in a variety of sports and leisure competitions.
Bradford, who is also director of the county's Mason Mill Recreation Center, said bowling and track and field are the two most popular events.
The games kick off May 16 with a 9 a.m. opening ceremony at Decatur Square. Over the 10 days of competition, some of DeKalb's most agile seniors will show off their prowess at everything from checkers, bridge, golf and swimming to pinochle, basketball and line dancing.
The first event of the 2005 Games will be a tennis tournament at 10 a.m. at the DeKalb Tennis Center, 1400 McConnell Drive in Decatur. On May 17, competitions include checkers and pinochle at Browns Mill Recreation Center, golf at Sugar Creek Golf Course, and a ballroom dancing contest at the Mason Mill Center.
On May 18, a bridge tournament will be at N.H. Scott Recreation Center, canasta will be played at Mason Mill Center, and the swimming competition that Yong is competing in will be at the Dynamo Pool. There are also tournaments in 3-on-3 basketball, Scrabble, table tennis, archery, billiards, softball and bowling.
The games culminate on May 26 with the track and field competitions at Panthersville Stadium, starting at 10 a.m., and a ballroom gala and banquet at the Decatur Holiday Inn at 6:30 p.m.
At all of the events, participants will compete under the watchful eyes of medical personnel.
As in the "big" Olympics, gold, silver, and bronze medals will be awarded to first, second, and third place winners in the men's and women's divisions.
Yong says competition is keen in the swimming and he is not resting on his laurels.
This year, training is a little bit harder for him than in past years because he is getting over a bout of pneumonia that he had last July. When he got the OK from his doctor, he resumed training in January.
Yong says he's regaining his strength by also lifting weights at Emory Rehab center three times per week.
Last year, Yong took the gold in swimming in the competition for 75- to 79-year-olds.
He has been swimming since he was a teenager and has been competing in the Senior Olympics since he retired from DeKalb Schools in 1995 as an assistant principal. He hasn't missed a game in the last five years and has eight medals, three of them gold, in the DeKalb Games.
"The whole idea of this competition is to motivate people to not be couch potatoes," he said. "One way to stay young is to keep exercising."
Yong says swimming is the best form of exercise.
"It helps the whole body — the arms, the legs, everything," he said, "and it's not hard on you like running."