Is “age” only in your mind? Do people think that “age” is a bar to achievement? Do they allow themselves to let the world go by citing age as an excuse. There are achievers in different fields who have achieved much at relatively older ages. In this context, I was delighted to read Tara Parker-Pope write in the New York Times about the Oldies in the recent 2008 Olympics at Beijing.
Quite amazing to see their achievements despite what one might call an advanced- if not a rapidly advancing age. A few outstanding examples:
- Ian Miller, the Canadian equestrian is 61 and this was his 9th Olympics.
- Susan Nattrass of Canada shot in the trap shooting and was placed 14th. She is the oldest shooter at age 57.
- Hiroshi Hoketsu, another equestrian, this time from Japan was the oldest competitor in the Olympics at age 67.
In the comments which follow the article, many wrote that Oksana Chusovitina should have been added to the list. She is “only” 33 but she competes in gymnastics – a sport where most of the competition is perhaps less than 20 years of age. She began her career as an international gymnast in 1989- when most of her current rivals were not even born.
Another name that comes to mind is the captain of the US basketball team- Lisa Leslie, who won her 4th consecutive gold , at the age of 36. This is quite amazing for such a fast-paced, energy sapping game like basketball. She has been in the Gold medal winning US team since the Atlanta Games of 1996.
Clearly, it’s the spirit that makes them compete. It is remarkable that they continue to compete in fiercely demanding sporting events under high pressure- because of their love for the sport. Sure the physical aspect of fitness is important. I guess in some sports you need to be more fit than in others which are perhaps less physically demanding.
Yet one cannot take away from the fact that all these sports demand a cool head, great determination and the mental discipline to see it through till the end. You win some and you lose some. Perhaps at this age, you might lose more than you win, but the fact that these people were considered good enough to represent their countries in the world’s premier sporting event is testimony to their spirit.
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This is Post No: 267 of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success.