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28 November 2011 @ 02:15 am
Some people just don't age.  
Watched a show on the Documentary channel called Autumn Gold.  It followed several athletes preparing for a 2008 Masters track and field competition in Lahti, Finland.

Where was I?  Oh, yes; older athletes.  And by older, I mean followed by "than dirt".  Let's meet our heroes.

Jirka, Czech Republic, 83; event - high jump.  He has a coach (!) and a wife who gives him a rubdown after his workouts.  In order to be competitive, he's got to be able to jump at least 109 cm (43 inches).  During the meet, he's only able to get to 96 cm (still, you do that at 83).

Nick, Ireland, 84; event - 1500 meters.  He wished that the meet had been 3 weeks later, so he could have competed in the 85-89 age group, as he got smoked by those 80 year old whippersnappers.  He was dead last, but his time?  8:50.  I can't do that right now, and I'm a lot younger than he is.

Harold, Sweden, 93; event - 100 meters.  He admits to being small, and wishes he was bigger.  His workouts are impressive, including climbing up onto a piece of apparatus, hooking his feet against a bar, hanging upside-down, and proceeding to do situps. Yikes.  Won the silver medal; got beaten by an Italian who probably took a similar number of strides, but was at least 8 inches taller, so his strides took him a lot further.

Gabi, Italy, ??; event - discus.  She pedals her stationary bike wearing her pearls.  She runs an exercise class.  She doesn't want to admit her age, but lets slip that her first major competition in discus was in the spring of 1936.  Later a friend spills the beans - Gabi is 94.  She didn't medal, but set a new personal best of 12.55 meters (over 41 feet).  Again, no way can I do that now.

Arnold, Germany, ??; event - discus.  Arnold's using his walker more recently because one knee has been prone to collapsing at inopportune moments, and if he continues to fall he won't be able to stay in his apartment.  Despite this, he wants to compete, because he wants the competitor number that he'll wear on the front of his top.  When he gets his packet, he tears it open, pulls out the paper, and giggles with childish glee as he holds it up.  His division?  M (for masters) 100.  And yes, he took his walker up to the edge of the throwing circle, left it there, walked in, and threw that discus with all the might his 100 year old body could muster.  (I think there were no other contestants in his age bracket in that event.)

This is what life can be like in extreme old age.  They have my complete respect.  Think about all they've seen, what they've had to live through.  War, communism, loss of spouse; the world they were born into bears almost no resemblance to the one we have now.  Yet their minds and bodies are still sharp.  Imagine what we can do by following their example.
If You Saw Me You'd Know I Was: impressedimpressed
Pookledopookledo on November 30th, 2011 10:30 pm (UTC)
hehe. Cool!