The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

Not Old for the Olympics Part I

The 2008 US Olympic swimming trials were held June 29 to July 6 in Omaha, Nebraska, photo at left. New world records were set, including by a swimmer that the news likes to call old. Dara Torres is 41, not old for an athlete.

Swimming is the Olympic event that I trained for over many years. I have seen an assortment of training beliefs and procedures come and go, and hope to post on them as the Olympics begin August 8 in Beijing China. It may seem like a new idea that experience and years of training make you a better athlete, but it is not new to maintain skills, even improve as years pass.

Hiroshi Hoketsu, age 67, will compete in two equestrian events. He was born in Tokyo Japan in 1941.

Dominique D'esme Gerbaud, born 1945 qualified for the French equestrian team.

Rajmond Debevec born in Slovenia Yugoslavia in 1963 is now going to his seventh Olympic Games at age 45. He is an Olympic and world record holder in 50m rifle shooting events.

Laurie Lever, born 1947, will compete in individual and team horse jumping at 60 years old.

John Dane III, born 1950 in New Orleans, LA, will compete for the US at age 58, and Peter Douglass, born 1955 will compete for Barbados in sailing.

Juan Carlos Dasque, born 1952, will compete for Argentina in trap shooting.

Mark Todd, born 1956, has made the New Zealand Equestrian team at age 52.

Juha Hirvi of Finland, born 1960 will go to his third Olympics at 48, competing in Men's 50m Rifle Prone and Men's 50m Rifle 3 Positions.

Canadian Donna Saworski, born 1960, made the fencing team.

Another Canadian, Leslie Thompson-Willie, born 1959, will row crew in the woman's eight, at nearly 49 years old.

Galina Belyayeva of Kazakhstan, born 1951, is scheduled to compete in shooting at age 57. Elizabeth Callahan of the US will compete in pistol shooting at age 58.

Jeff Hartwick, born 1967 qualified for pole vault. Romy Tarangul of Germany, also born in 1967, will compete in Judo at age of almost 41.

Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli, pictured at right, is a French cyclist born 1958, who won three Tour de France races, the Olympic Gold medal in the Atlanta 1996 games, a bronze at the Sydney 2000 Olympics at age 41, made the 2004 Athens Olympics at age 46, and will compete in Beijing in the Women's Individual Time Trial and Women's Road Race at nearly 50 years old (birthday is Oct 31).

Sheila Taormina, born 1969, will go to her fourth Olympics this August in Beijing. She competed in 1996 as a swimmer, the triathlon in 2000 and 2004, and will compete in the Modern Pentathlon (five events) in Beijing, making her the first U.S. athlete to compete in three sports in the Olympics.

Al Oerter, picture at left, born 1936, won four consecutive Olympic gold medals in the discus in 1956, 1960, 1964, 1968, setting Olympic records each time. At age 40 in 1976, he threw his personal best. At age 44, he qualified for the U.S. Olympics trials in 1980. That was the year of the US boycott of the summer games.

The legendary Oerter passed away last year. Thank you Mr. Oerter for your inspiration.

Tomorrow, Not Old for the Olympics Part II - more on aging, athletics, performance enhancing drugs.

Photo of Spann standing ready. Rights reserved. By A. Dawson
Photo of Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli
Photo of Al Oerter with discus

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About the Author


Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.