Go for bronze, silver, gold, or … enamel?

Sons of Norway’s sports medals promote fitness—and the earning of shiny badges

Photo: Christine Foster Meloni  A full set of Walking and Cycling medals.

Photo: Christine Foster Meloni
A full set of Walking and Cycling medals.

Christine Foster Meloni
Washington, D.C.

Let the Sons of Norway inspire you! Participate in one or more of their five sports medal programs. Choose Walking (gangmerke), Skiing (skimerke), Cycling (sykkelmerke), Swimming (svømmemerke), or Sports & Fitness (idrettsmerke).

You can earn bronze, silver, gold, and enamel medals for each program. The purpose of these programs is to encourage SON members to live an active lifestyle, as most Norwegians do.

Photo: Mattias Fredriksson / Visitnorway.com  You don’t have to do your cycling in Norway—but it couldn’t hurt!

Photo: Mattias Fredriksson / Visitnorway.com
You don’t have to do your cycling in Norway—but it couldn’t hurt!

I decided to begin with the Walking program. I checked the requirements. I looked at my age group, 55-69, and discovered that I would earn a bronze medal after walking 100 miles to be completed within a year. I started walking, and every time I took a walk (which I did regularly every morning before going to work) I would log the date and distance (in miles) on the record card provided on the SON website. I asked my husband to initial my card after each walk.

When I completed the required 100 miles, I submitted my card to the Sports Director of my lodge. She forwarded it to the SON headquarters in Minneapolis. Shortly thereafter, I was awarded the Walking bronze medal at a lodge meeting.

I decided not to stop there. I immediately began working on my silver medal. The requirement for this medal was 210 miles. I had to start at zero again to earn this medal. Then I went on to earn my gold (315 miles) and my enamel (420 miles) medal.

I chose Cycling as my next challenge, but I also continued my daily walks. For my age group the requirements were the following: 100 miles for bronze, 200 miles for silver, 300 miles for gold, and 350 miles for enamel. For the Cycling medal, you can ride either a regular bicycle or a stationary bike. I completed all four levels of this sports program as well.

The Swimming and Skiing programs are similar to the Walking and Cycling ones, focused on a single sport.

The Sports & Fitness program is different in that you can select from a variety of activities, actually 24 activities. On your record card, you must indicate the activity, how much time you spent on it, and how many points you earned. The points awarded vary according to the activity.

Let me give some examples of how many points you would earn if you participated in a particular activity for ten minutes: four points for walking; five points for badminton or bowling; six points for hiking or dancing; eight points for baseball or handball; 12 points for water aerobics or kayaking; 15 points for soccer or basketball.

You can repeat any of these medal programs as many times as you wish. You will keep fit and earn some lovely medals.

You must, of course, be a member of the Sons of Norway to participate in these sports programs and win medals. For more information, go to the SON website at www.sofn.com.

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 19, 2014, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.

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