It may be a bit of hyperbole to call Chuck and Phil Milliman television stars. But they are undeniably track and field royalty. They, after all, have the golds to prove it.
Earlier this year — and for the second time — this Sequim father-son duo tallied first place finishes at the National Senior Games.
Their collective story was part of HBO’s Real Sports’ eighth episode of Season 28, released in August (also available on HBOMAX).
At the 2022 National Senior Games in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., May 10-23, in the 90-94 age group, Chuck earned a gold in the pole vault and 800 meters, silver in the high jump, bronze in the 50 meters and placed fourth in the long jump. In the 70-74 age group, Phil earned a gold in the pole vault and another in the high jump.
Show producers not only gathered footage of the Millimans and several other standout athletes at the Games, but also followed up with footage at the Milliman’s pole vault pit in Sequim, as well as some unused footage of their practices at Pole Vault Northwest in Seattle.
While much of the footage from the Senior Games focuses on record-setting octogenarian Flo Meiler — she is a winner of 700-plus medals and holds 35 world records — the Millimans got their share of screen time for being father-son dual gold medal winners (for the second time; they also notched golds at the 2017 National Senior Games in Birmingham, Ala.).
It almost didn’t happen, however: Chuck — who is known in the local running community for his multi-marathon-long fundraising efforts, including an 85-mile run on his 85th birthday — suffered a stroke in March.
The Millimans recall it was after a day of unloading some split wood from a truck. Chuck said it was about a four-hour job. Later that night he woke, alarmed.
“I couldn’t move my right side,” he recalled.
Family members quickly got him to the emergency room. About 14 hours later, he was talking a bit with a slight slur.
“A day later,” Phil said, “you could not tell he had a stroke.
“They got to him fast [and he] recovered quickly.”
Said Chuck, “It was a miracle.”
A couple of months later, Chuck and Phil were vaulting and leaping to gold medals.
Their television fame caught the eye of a Bellingham radio station for an interview about their exploits.
“The guys [from the station] are fun to talk to,” Phil said.