They’re here again, this time in London…
Around 10,500 athletes are competing this year, representing 204 countries. But as we watch teenage Olympians fly through the air and water, even the younger generation in their 20’s wonder if their glory days have passed…
One of the interesting story lines at the Olympics is people defying their age. Age shouldn’t limit your aspiration: If a gold medal is what you aspire for, don’t let how old you are slow you down. Twelve members of the U.S. team in London are competing at age 40-plus.
Among these competing participants is Dara Torres, the 45-year-old who already was the oldest swimmer to compete in the Olympics four years ago and, appropriately enough, wrote a memoir titled, “Age is Just a Number.”
Hiroshi Hoketsu, a 70 year old qualifier for the London Olympics. He competed at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 at 67 years old. Do you still think you’re too over the hill?
Michael Joyner, a Mayo Clinic doctor who researches athletes and aging, said that many athletes don’t so much wear out physically as mentally: They just can’t face another four years training in the pool, on the track or in the gym. That is something swimmer Michael Phelps, 26, has frequently alluded to, saying he never wanted to be swimming competitively past the age of 30, vowing London will be his last Olympics.
“It’s definitely a race against the clock,” said Nastia Liukin, the all-around gold medal gymnast in the 2008 Games who decided last summer to try for another Olympics. At 22, she is already used to being considered old. Gymnasts tend to be younger these days because of the specific demands of their sport, Joyner said. “You need tremendous flexibility,” he said. “And you don’t get more flexible as you get older.” Fitness, dieting, and anti-aging happens at every age
Go Team USA!