"I've lived a long life, but competing makes me very happy," Fred Winter tells PEOPLE

By Caitlin Keating
Updated June 29, 2015 03:15 PM
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Fred Winter does 100 push-ups a day – one for each year he has been alive.

But 30 years ago, the former teacher and U.S. Navy veteran (who was aboard a ship at the Battle of Okinawa during World War II) wasn’t in the best shape. When he turned 70, he decided that he should check in with other men his age.

“I wanted to see how I stacked up,” Winter, from Holland Michigan, tells PEOPLE. “And let’s just say, it wasn’t good.”

It was then that he got involved in the Senior Olympics.

“I love it,” he says. “As I get older I have less and less competition. People get sick, people die. But I’m staying strong.”

On Saturday, he competed in the Meijer State Games of Michigan.

But Winter, who has been married for 65 years to his college sweetheart Darleen, says that signing up for the event wasn’t so easy.

“The age bracket to register ended up at 99,” he says. “So I had to ask them if they could let me join.”

He walked away from the event with a gold medal for the 50-meter run, the shot put and the hammer throw.

He plans to compete again this summer and hopes that when he turns 101, they will make another exception.

Says Winter: “I’m not slowing down anytime soon.”