Inspiring Athletes Over 70
In recognition of National Senior Health & Fitness Day (now in it’s 20th year), check out our slideshow of some of the uplifting Canadian boomer athletes we’ve featured in past issues of Zoomer.
Entries by Jayne McCaulay
Earl Fee, featured in hour September 2009 issue.
Olga Kotelko, featured in our April 2010 issue.
“Hammer is my favourite,” says Olga Kotelko of West Vancouver, B.C (pictured above). “It’s a six-pound metal ball with a long wire and a triangular hand grip. You swing this around your body, over your head and then you let it go.
It gives me a feeling of freedom, of movement, of grandeur.” At 75, the retired teacher quit slo-pitch, a form of softball, to let someone younger play and eventually found track and field (it had the throwing and running she was used to) and a coach who helped her build strength and avoid injuries. Since she turned 77, Kotelko has been competing in 60-, 200- and 400-metre sprints; throwing the hammer, shot put, javelin, discus and weight; and jumping in three events most of us haven’t tried since high school — triple, high and long jumps.
Louise McGonigal and Dave Watts, featured in our October 2009 issue
Triathlons aren’t for sissies. And Louise McGonigal and Dave Watts of Elmvale, Ont., are no sissies. Last October, McGonigal, a retired educator, won the Hawaii World Ironman Championship in the 60-65 age group — her 20th Ironman.
They train 12 to 15 hours a week and are already planning for major 2010 Ironman competitions. Competing at an elite level involves the camaraderie of people who don’t associate age with weakness. Watts, a retired contractor, says, “I’ve always trained with younger guys and held my own. “I never thought about age. Now, in my 70s, it’s awesome.”
McGonigal feels maintaining her good health and being strong is part of her identity. “You don’t have control of some aspects of aging but you do control your fitness,” she says. “We’re following our passion and, as I get older, I’m proud of my age.”