Last updated: August 25. 2013 8:11AM - 128 Views

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By GREG SOWINSKIgsowinski@limanews.com 419-993-2090LIMA — Senior Olympics champion bike racer Elton Hammond Jr., who lived the dream of a cyclist, winning numerous gold medals, died Tuesday in a crash while trying to win another medal.The 86-year-old was competing at the National Senior Games just outside Houston, Texas, on Tuesday when he was involved in a crash. Hammond was a mile from the finish line of a 10-kilometer time trial when the accident happened, said Fulshear Police Interim Chief Kenny Seymour.Paramedics on the course arrived at the scene almost immediately and took Hammond to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. Details on the cause of the crash which may have involved other riders were unclear. While Hammond's death brought sadness to those who knew him back home, many were sharing fond memories of him after hearing the news.Mary Lou Paisley of the Allen County Senior Citizens Services who helped organize athletes for local, state and national senior games, said Hammond was an avid competitor who loved to race at the national games held every two years.“He loved to compete and loved being on that bike. He died doing what he loved to do,” Paisley said.In the days leading up to his death, Hammond won the gold medal in the 20-kilometer road race and silver medals in the 40-kilometer road race and the 5-kilometer time trial. The 10-kilometer time trial was his last event of the games.Paisley said Hammond always won gold at the Ohio senior games, qualifying him for the national games.“Usually at the national level he won silver medals. He had quite a competition with another guy and that's why he kept going back. I think he wanted to beat that guy,” Hammond said. Hammond also was willing to help out new cyclist or someone wanting to get into the sport, Paisley said.“He was always supportive of other cyclists, especially seniors who were getting back into it. He would help them look over their bikes and encourage them,” she said.Hammond's son, Elton Hammond III, said Hammond began cycling more than 40 years ago but didn't begin racing until he was in his 70s. Hammond enjoyed riding with his children and riding places on the bike, including in Europe, New Zealand and Australia, his son said.Hammond, who would have turned 87 next month, was one of three avid life-long local cyclists to die in the past year. Tony Pranses, 90, died in February and Dr. Gene Wright, 85, died in October. Pranses formed the Lima Roadrunners Cycling and Hiking Club. He was an avid outdoorsman and also an exceptional athlete. Wright loved to ride his bike but was even better known for bringing health care to under-privileged people and helping to start Health Partners of Western Ohio to serve them.You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com.

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