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Breaking the age barrier: Sport’s oldest champions

by Abergele Jones (writer), , March 25, 2014

As we head towards what has been affectionately coined as the great summer of sport, fans and the media alike have started making their predictions towards the rising stars of athleticism.

However, not only have the adverts promoting an active, gym-going lifestyle started power-lifting for your attention, but it has shone an interesting light on age.

It was noted by several online platforms that, if Roger Federer wins one of the three remaining major tennis tournaments of 2014, he will be one of the ten oldest winners of a Grand Slam. Wimbledon is set to serve 23rd June, by which time, Federer will only be 32 – hardly a geriatric player.

If you want sports stars in their twilight years, look to John Whittemore for a little inspiration. Sadly now passed, John was credited as being the world’s oldest athlete. A somewhat famous face within the Master Track arena, John’s last competition was in 2004 where, only six weeks prior to his 105th birthday, he competed in the javelin and discus events.

If you’re a fan of athletics and often reference the sporting events for your own training and personal health, no doubt you’ll be tuning into the Commonwealth Games, set to be aired 23rd July – 3rd August. While you’re unlikely to see a competitor over 1oo years, the oldest ever gold medal winner to date was Dorothy Roache OAM, who was 61 when she won the women’s fours in Bowls back in 1990.

Returning to tennis, one of the most successful players to have ever graced the courts is the now retired Martina Navratilova. Heralded as the greatest singles and doubles player ever, Navratilova was the world number one for a total of 332 weeks in singles, and a record 237 weeks in doubles. This made her the only player in history to have held the top spot in both categories for over 200 weeks.

Alongside this tremendous achievement, she is one of only three female players to have accomplished a career Grand Slam in singles, women's doubles and mixed doubles and won the Wimbledon singles a record nine times.

The list truly does go on to detail many more achievements, including playing up until the age of 49. Navratilova also continued coaching and has long been an advocate of tennis as an excellent form of fitness. Quite possibly one of the most accessible sports for all ages and genders, many people are picking up their rackets and playing a round. If you’re new to the sport, head bread the USPTA’s 34 reasons to play tennis post and then head over to Millet Sports to get the equipment designed to help you reap these benefits.

Weight lifting is probably one of the last sports you would ever expect to see anyone over the age of 60 competing. However, in 1991, 61 year old Albert Beckles won the Niagara Falls Pro Invitational IFBB — he also competed the next year aged 62 and he remains one of the most active participants in body building history.

So, the next time you start to think sport is limited to the young, just think of the achievements listed above.

The summer of sport consists of the following events: Fifa World Cup (12th June – 13th July), Wimbledon (23rd June to 6th July), the Tour De France (starting 5th July) and Commonwealth Games (23rd July – 3rd August).



About the Writer

Abergele Jones is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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1 comments on Breaking the age barrier: Sport’s oldest champions

Log In To Vote   Score: 0
By Atenida88 on July 17, 2014 at 04:31 am

I agree that will be awesome foteliki

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