I don’t care how old you are; these senior citizens are the most inspiring sporting heroes out there. Whenever some know-it-all said to them they were a bit old to keep doing this or that, have gone way past their sell by date, or they were just too completely over the hill to take up any arduous new challenge, do you know what they did? They ignored them. They just went away and did it.
Watch our rundown of the world’s most incredible veteran superstars. While taking from them the inspirational exhortation carpe diem, follow their uplifting lead and enjoy 'this sporting life'.
1. Ida Keeling (100) - Sprinter
Ida Keeling is a superb 100-year-old inspiration. Having suffered the tragic loss of her 2 sons to drug violence she took up running late in her sixties to combat her depression. Now Ida is an exuberant and merry athlete. Who knew such pain could be healed by the power of sport and competition?
2. Paddy Jones (81) - Salsa Star
Paddy Jones is an 81-year-old salsa dancer who took classes in the art after her retired husband passed-away when she was nearly 70. Six years later she - and her much younger dancing partner - actually won the Spanish version of America’s Got Talent. Here she is performing as Paddy and Nico in 2014.
3. Charles Eugster (95) - Bodybuilder
Charles Eugster is a 95-year-old bodybuilder who took up weights when he was 87. Amazingly, as a young man he was unusually slow and not very athletic. According to him, ageing is the most wonderful and important thing that can happen to us, because 'if we don’t age we are in our grave’. How true!
4. Olga Kotelko (95) - Decathlete
Olga Kotelko is a 95-year-old who is so keen on pushing herself that she has earned an astonishing 750 gold medals and set over 30 world records. She wants to keep going until she drops. Now I feel encouraged to do the same, thanks, Olga!
5. Lisa Modlich (88) - Ping-Pong Player
Lisa Modlich is a mercurial 88-year-old ping pong champion, who only took up the indoor sport in her late sixties to escape the sunshine! For her, life is about the thrill of victory, not only bettering one’s enemies but setting a goal and achieving it. Sport provides a greater high than drugs or alcohol, she says.
6. John Lowe (94) - Ballet Dancer
John Lowe is a sensational 94-year-old ballet dancer, who first began to don his tights aged 80. He puts his extraordinary determination down to his terrible suffering during the war as a Japanese POW. Then, he lost 6 years of his life, but he is keen on making it up now.
7. Robert Marchand (103) - Cyclist
Robert Marchand is a 103-year-old French cyclist, who only took up cycling at 67. At 89 he cycled the 380 mile Bordeaux to Paris race in 36 hours. He jokes: "With doping I could have ridden faster, but there is no doping. I only have water with some honey in my bottle here." I will have to try that!
8. Fauja Singh (101) - Maranthon Runner
Fauja Singh is a 101-year-old marathon runner, who took up the grueling sport at 89 to combat the depression of losing his family. Until age 101 he traveled all around the world to compete with the very best and raise thousands of dollars for charity.
9. Hilda Jamieson (102) - Skier
Hilda Jamieson was skiing past her 100th birthday, retiring recently at 102. She has been an inspiration to her family her whole life. But she never set out to inspire, she just loves the excitement of traipsing up steep snowy mountains for hours only to hurtle down at incredible speeds. For her it is just exhilarating and has filled her days with such intense thrills.