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Masters Sport Stars

Posted November 16, 2008, 10:57 am



George Blair traveled to Florida at the age of 40 to recuperate from back fusion surgery. An instructor at a ski school near Fort Lauderdale convinced George to try water skiing, back brace and all. His life hasn't been the same since. He's skied on all seven continents and in 69 different countries well into his 90s. Listen

Trent Lane is not your average 95-year-old. Between tending to his 25-acre farm near Baton Rouge, La., which includes mowing and clearing brush and trees on his nature trail, he's also flying his own single-engine plane and pursuing a Ph.D. in physics. Plus, he holds five national Track and Field records and several world records. Listen

Donna Vano says her goal in life is to prove you're never too old to kick a little butt. At the age of 53, she won all nine events in the 50-59 age group at the U.S. National Snowboard Championships. Listen

Charlie Futrell is an 85-year-old superman. He's a 16-time Triathlon Magazine All-American and is one of the only 85-year-old triathletes in the world. Listen

Nadine O'Connor is a track and field superstar. She's the world record holder in the 60-65 age bracket in the 200m dash, the pole vault and the long jump. Listen

Franklin "Bud" Held burst onto the world track and field scene with his record-breaking collegiate career at Stanford University. Now, in his late 70's and a member of the U.S.A. Track and Field Hall of Fame, holds world records in three events, and is the only human in history to pole vault over 10 feet after the age of 70. Listen

Ed Whitlock is a superstar. Some have said that his accomplishments rival Roger Bannister's breaking of the four-minute mile barrier. In 2000, at age of 69, Ed became the oldest person to ever to break three hours in a marathon. At the age of 74, he once again finished a marathon in under three hours. Listen

Susan Von Der Lippe is a three-time Olympian who will take on the country's top swimmers at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials . And when she hits the pool, she will be 43 years old. Listen

Violet Sesco is an 80-year-old great-great-grandmother and a member of the Professional Women's Bassmaster Tour.
She's the oldest member of the tour -- male or female -- and may be the oldest professional athletes in the world. Listen
Rich Abrahams was a three time college all-american in swimming who somehow continues to get better every year. At 62, he's been smashing world age group records in freestyle and butterfly events since he was in his 40s. Listen

Brent Weigner is a mild-mannered, 57-year-old geography teacher, but when he laces up his running shoes, he turns into a warrior. He has run ultra-marathons on every continent on the planet, which has taken him to nearly 100 countries and to the North Pole for races. Listen

James Hylton was 72 in February 2007 when he tried to become the oldest driver to ever qualify for the Daytona 500. He told GB the real reason he got back onto the track was to prove that you're never too old to keep going. Listen

Cy Peachy is a lifelong golfer who got to live his dream at age 81 by playing in a shoot your age tournament against golfing greats Arnold Palmer and Gary Player. Listen

Joe Neal is 65 and the oldest member of the triathlon team at The Villages, Fla., and he's just getting started. Listen

Eleanor Hamre is 70 years old and one of the fastest female cyclists alive over the age of 50. Just 10 years into her biking career, she is the holder of three national records. Listen

Aileen Laing is the general manager and founder of the Village Vixens, a traveling softball team with women 55 and over.The team, which is based in The Villages, has dominated the state of Florida and is looking to take on the rest of country. Listen

Mack Branham likes to push the limits of his body, mind and soul. He's a pastor, a president, a professor and a world-class powerlifter. He took up powerlifting and track and field after his retirement. Now 75, he is a five-time national champion and a four-time world champion. He also holds national and world records. Listen

Roy Pirrung wanted to lose a little weight and quit smoking. On his 32nd birthday, he started running. At first he couldn't even run two blocks. Since then, he has raced in the Boston Marathon, the 50-mile race on the Ice Age Trail, the 155-mile "Original Ultramarathon" in Greece - and he's a member of the USA Track and Field Masters Hall of Fame. Listen

Bernie Shur is a 68-year-old prostate cancer survivor who has competed in the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii three times and rode across the country with Lance Armstrong as part of the famous cyclist's Tour of Hope. Listen

Thurlow "Turbo" Rogers is a cycling legend who has has raced away with more than 300 victories in his career, and the 47-year-old says he's only getting better as he gets older. Listen

Ned Overend is the Michael Jordan of mountain biking. He's a Hall of Famer and six-time National Champion. Overend earned the nicknames "Deadly Nedly" and "The Lung", because he was nearly impossible to beat and his aerobic endurance at altitude was phenonomenal, especially for a man of his age. Listen

Pat Bond became a serious athlete in her 40s and she says it changed her life for the better in countless ways. In 1999, she was named the Florida Senior Athlete of the Year and she's been going strong ever since. Now 68, the swimmer and cyclist says she can't wait until her 70th birthday so that she can move up an age group in her various competitions. Listen

Al Oerter was one of the greatest Olympic champions in history later became a respected and successful abstract artist. Oerter did the unthinkable. Beginning in 1956, he racked up four gold medals in 16 years in the discus. Then, after 10 years of retirement, he achieved his personal best and nearly made the team at the age of 43. We spoke with Oerter weeks before his death in 2007. Listen

Deb Smith wanted to go to basketball camp, but no one would accept her because she was 51. So, instead of getting mad and depressed, she got busy founding her own basketball skills camp, Not Too Late. And she got even -- the camp is ONLY open to women 50 and over. Listen

George Brunstad (Matt Damon's uncle) swam across the English Channel three days after his 70th birthday, becoing the oldest person in history to accomplish the difficult feat. He was in the water for 15 hours and 59 minutes. Listen

Steve Sigler says softball never appealed to him, so in 1985, he put a notice in a local newspaper looking for men interested in forming a baseball team. More than 20 years later, Sigler is at the helm of the Men's Senior Baseball League (MSBL), a national organization with 325 local affiliates, 3,200 teams and 45,000 members. Listen

Gordy Shields is living proof that it's never too late to excel at whatever it is you enjoy and that anyone can overcome almost anything. In April 2008, Gordy shattered the American record in the 20-kilometer time trial for cyclists 90-and-older. Listen

Nolan Shaheed, 57, is the world record-holder at 800 meters and the mile for people 50 and older. One of the fastest runners in the world also happens to be one of the best jazz trumpeters on Earth. Listen

Ethyl Lehmann runs, jumps, throws, plays softball, and at 77-years-old is a superstar on the Senior Games circuit.
She says she's just making up for lost time since girls were limited as to what they could do when she was younger. Listen

Roger Gentilhomme is a 97-year-old multi-sports star who captured gold medals in shuffleboard, bowling and tennis at the Florida Senior Games. Listen

Graham Johnston broke six swimming records in one race just weeks shy of his 76th birthday. The event was the 1650, which is just under a mile. His splits were so fast he set age group records in the 50, the 100 and 200, and he set national records in the 500, 1000 and 1650. Listen

Sandy Scott was racing toward his goal of winning the Florida Senior Games time trials when he was involved in a horrible accident. He flew over the handlebars, landing headfirst on the pavement.He temporarily lost his memory and broke his C1 vertebrae. 18 months later, the 66-year-old made a remarkable comeback. Listen

Harold Spiker is leading leading the wave of adults gravitating to snowboards. At 60, spiker is the ambassador of gray-haired snowboarders. Listen

Adora Quinby took up weightlifting after turning 78. By the time she was 88, she smasked a world age group record by dead lifting 100 pounds. Andora, who is the oldest female competing in the International All-Around Weightlifting Association, says she hopes her accomplishments inspire other seniors to get active. Listen

Leo Luken is the greatest shoot-your-age golf star in history. He's shot his age over 700 times and at the age of 88 beat golfing greats Arnold Palmer and Gary Player in the World Shoot Your Age Championships. Listen

Frank Condon is a 64-year-old Realtor from California and one of the top track and field athletes in the world.
At the 2006 World Senior Games, competing against athletes four years younger, he won six medals, taking the gold in the 400m, 800m, 1500m and 3000m events. Listen

Florence Carr swam professionall with Esther Williams and Buster Crabbe as a teenage, and as a young woman she was a swimsuit babe in the James Bond movie, "Goldfinger." Now, Florence Carr is the fastest female swimmer over 80 in the world. Listen

Esther Medley recently bowled a 244, the highest in her league. That may not sound impressive until you realize that she is 94 years old and legally blind. Listen

Andy McGuffin, 82, could teach today's NBA stars a thing or so about free-throw shooting. In the last 10 Florida Senior Championships, Andy made 282 of 300 free throw attempts and he once sank 400 in a row. Listen

Jim Sullivan is a big shot in the national electric union but it's his hobby that's truly shocking. The 55-year-old has completed 240 marathons and apparently that wasn't enough. So, now, he's into ultramarathons, which are usually 50 or 100 miles long and involve extreme courses. Listen

Tiny Caizel was a star at the 2007 National Senior Games, winning medals in track and field and softball. Listen

Harold Sauer didn't take up golf until he was 32, and this year earned himself a spot to the U.S. Senior Open.
where he'll be teeling off against Fuzzy Zoeller and Tom Watson. Listen

Carla Hoppie isn't your average college freshman. The 50-year-old mother and waitress not only decided to go back to school, she tried out for and made the varsity track team at Eastern Oregon University. Now, her son is her classmate and teammate. Listen

Nick Kent shot the lowest round in the field at the 2007 National Senior Games. The 64-year-old shot 72, 77 and 74 for a total of 223. That score tied him for first and put him into a three-way sudden death playoff. Listen

Robert Gralley has run more than 40 marathons -- that's about 47,000 miles! The 81-year-old says his his goal is to run the equivalent of around the world --- twice. Listen

Tony Handler isn't supposed to be here. Twenty-five years ago, he was diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer and given two years to live. That same year, he completed his first triathlon. After that, the cancer attacked his liver, prostate and thyroid glands but he's beat them all back. Listen

Lucille Borgen became the oldest competitor ever in the U.S. National Water Skiing Championships; the world's largest water ski tournament. At the age of 94, she amazed the crowd, winning the slalom and tricks title in her age division. Lucille survived polio as a child, cancer as an adult and the complete loss of vision in her left eye a few years ago. Listen

Cliff Eggink is a 70-year-old former CEO known around the world as the Iron Geezer. By his own admission, he was once a couch potato. But when he was 60 years old, he says something motivated him to change. Listen

Charles Modlin is the fastest 82-year-old in the world. And he has the gold medal to prove it! But winning the 100-meter sprint in the National Senior Games and setting records in the 100, 200, 4000 meter sprints and the long jump just wasn't enough for Modlin. Listen

Joe and Carol Neal are a couple of 60-something triathlon fanatics who travel the world to fulfill their desire for travel and fitness. Listen

John Newman is a former college swimmer wholeft the sport behind for three decades. But after being diagnosed with a potentially fatal cardiac condition, he jumped back in the pool and rediscovered the sport of his youth. Listen

Jane Dulieu had trouble walking after doctors removed a brain tumor 11 years ago - so she took up swimming and is now a champion. Listen

Joe Shanahan was a member of the Notre Dame track and field team in college, but he returned to the sport 10 years ago after decades on the sidelines. Out of more than 5,000 athletes in the running, the 71-year-old was tapped as Florida's top amateur athlete in 2007. Listen

John Disterdick is one of the most versatile masters athletes in the world. The 65-year-old recently won the world light heavyweight boxing championship. But that's just the latest sport he's conquered. He's also been a speed skier, a triathlete, a rower, a swimmer and more. Listen

Eva Birath is a 51-year-old former Swedish supermodel turned worldclass bodybuilder. Listen

Corkey Nydle is one of the top senior golfers in America. With five gold medals in the last five years at the Florida Senior Games and the National Senior Games, she continues to dominate the game of golf. Listen

Karen Einsidler was the mother of triplets was an attorney and active in the master athletes world when she underwent a double mastectomy. Rather than quitting, she dove back into competitive swimming and won a gold and four silvers the World Masters Championships. Listen

Charley French has been determined to be a better triathlete after his first attempt at the age of 56 wasn't as successful as he had hoped. Now, he's the best over 80 triathlete in the world and is a four-time world age group champion. Listen

Philippa Raschker may be the greatest femae atletein the world over the age of 60. At the recent Masters World Track and Field Championships in Italy, she walked away with 10 gold medals winning the 100, the 200, the long jump, the high jump, the triple jump, pole vault and the hurdles, among other events. Listen

Dr. William Bell knows how to raise the bar. He broke the pole-vaulting age group world record 11 times in a single competition, pushing the record 21 inches in the men's 85-89 age group. Listen

Fan Benno-Caris is almost 90, but this beauty queen says she "forgot to get older." She's been race walking since she turned 70 and has picked up 12 national and world records along the way. Listen

Don Craig is a former professional surger who wanted to honor his father. So, he created a simple bumper sticker with a surfboard and the phrase "Old Guys Rule." That bumper sticker has now evolved into a multi-million dollar sportswear company. Listen

Helen Beauchamp is an 88-year-old gold medal machine. She holds won gold medals in all five events she entered in the 2007 National Senior Games and set world age group records in hammer throw, shot put, javelin and discus events. Listen

Sister Madonna Buder is a nun on the run. She's completed more than 40 marathons and 34 Ironman triathlons and says she uses her time while running to talk to God. Two years ago, at the age of 75, Buder became the oldest woman in history to finish the Ironman World Championships. Listen

Terry Peterson has become a worldwide sensation as one of the most unusual extreme athletes around the world.
He's known as the UniGeezer and rightly so, because Peterson has turned unicycle riding into a spectator sport.
At 52, Peterson's tricks are spreading all over YouTube. Listen

Lynn Tracey had a tough year. She lost her mother, injured her knee and was diagnosed with breast cancer, but that wasn't enough to keep Tracey away from a positive outlook on life. She came back and became America's best race walker over the age of 50 and set a national record while doing so. Listen

Claudette Braswell is the Florida State Female Senior Athlete of the Year. At the age of 71, she swept the basketball shooting competition, horseshoes and racquetball. Listen

Edgar Larson is one of the world's top over 85 masters swimmers. He won nine gold medals and set four swimming records at one championship -- this was after a tear in his colon, a brush with death and all at the age of 85. Listen

Skip Rogers recently smashed the 10K cyclng record in the 50-54 age group at the National Senior Games, but nobody could guess that he had recently recovered from a slew of serious injuries. Listen

John "The Glove" Trongon is an 85-year-old infielder and one of the stars on one of the nations top senior softball teams. Listen

John Wilson is the nation's oldest college baseball player. For Wilson, at 53, putting on a college uniform took a while. As a teenager, Wilson was sidetracked by a decades-long drug and alcohol addiction. He finlly went into rehab at age 32 to get to where he is today. Listen

Ted Skup has done about 10 million pushups in his life. He believes in the power of the simple pushup so much that he's written a book explainign why it's the perfect workout for people of all ages. Listen

Ray Zahab was a smoker living an unhealthy lifestyle. But unlike most people, he decided to change, and kicked his bad habits. Zahab is an extreme athlete and an ultra marathoner who takes on intense challenges to raise awareness for causes like the need for clean drinking water in Africa. Listen

Ed Shadle is a 60-year-old speed demon who's attempting to steal something the British have had for 20 years -- the world land speed record. And he plans on doing it with a jet-powered car he created himself. Listen

Delma Cowart was a racecar driver without much of a chance of winning, but with a huge optimistic outlook.
With no corporate backing this sixty something party animal attempted to qualify for the b iggest race of all - the Daytona 500. Listen

Tim Farwell is the No. 1 ranked 60+ tennis player in Florida, and he's found a way to combine his favorite sport with a great job. He's the tennis pro in The Villages, Fla. and says he loves teaching, especially to people who are in their 50s, 60s, 70s and even 80s. Listen

Bob Matteson is a 92-year-old competitive athlete who holds several national running records. In college, he was called "Rapid Robert" for his track-star reputation. But it took him 50 years after college to get back into running. Listen

Lucy Dettmer, one of the greatest Masters tennis players of all time, is shattering sports stereotypes -- at 86, she's still swinging the racket. The reigning national champion in both singles and doubles, Dettmer is still receiving corporate sponsorship, which comes with rackets, strings and shoes. Listen

Neil Gussman won the Geezerjock Masters Athlete Comeback Athlete of the Year Award. Gussman, 55, didn't waste any time getting back on his bike after a horrific accident in which he broke 10 bones. Perseverance has always been a part of Gussman's life. Listen

Marshall Ulrich got off the couch and went for a run when he turned 29. He hasn't stopped hitting the trail since. He's run more than 10,000 miles through ultra-marathon races and has gone to the top of his game. Now 50, Ulrich, is one of only three people to compete in 12 adventure races, and has vowed to every year complete something no one else has. Listen

Rowdy Gaines won three Olympic gold medals, held 11 world records and is a member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame. In 1996, at the age of 35, he become the oldest swimmer to ever make cut-off times for the Olympic trials. Listen

Barbara Kippel was 75 years old when she fell down a flight of stairs and broke her skull. After prolonged physical therapy, this retired kindergarten teacher won the nation's premiere cross-country ski marathon. Listen

Bernadette Pace is a 65 year old trapeze artist. She loves it so much she started the New York School of Trapeze where students of all ages can learn all different kinds of trapeze tricks. Listen

Rich Lefevre AKA "The Locust," is the oldest superstar in the rapidly growing sport of competitive eating. He's eaten seven and a half extra large pizza slices in 15 minutes, over seven pounds of smoked pork in 10 minutes, and a world record of 247 jalapenos in eight minutes! Listen

Hunter Kemper is a 3-time Olympic triathlete who was the first American to be ranked #1 in the world. Listen

Bob Cooley is the man behind the secret of 41-year-old Olympic swimmer Dara Torres' gold medals. He developed a warm-up routine called "resistance stretching" that is as unusual as it is useful. Listen

Hodding Carter was 41 and 20 years removed from being a Division lll college swimmer. He had a young family, a writing career that stalled and his marriage was on the rocks. So he decided to try and make the 2008 Olympic team. Listen

Jack LaLanne was so far ahead of his time, people thought he was nuts. Jack opened America's first health studio, invented the weight machines we use today and advocated weight-lifting for women and the elderly at a time when athletes didn't even lift weights. Today, in his mid-90s, he's still Growing Bolder. Listen

Carol Seagrave is one of the nation's top experts in creative planning for mid- and late-life years. She's also an accomplished athlete. She has medaled at the Senior Games in swimming events, she's a triathlete and an award-winning salsa dancer. Listen

Bob Becker was 57 before he ran his first marathon, and he was running strong until a double whammy threatened to end his running career. Now, at 62, Bob Becker is back. Listen

John Wooden became well-known as a hall-of-fame basketball coach but his common-sense principles of success have made him one of the world's most sought after speakers. At the age of 96, he shows no signs of slowing down. Listen

Norman Olson is called the "Sky Fossil." He's part of an over 60 skydiving group that lovesto have a good time. Listen

Sean Callahan took a risk when he launched "Geezerjock," a national magazine celebrating senior athletes. Geezerjock has since been rebranded Masters Athletes and is now the the bible for serious athletes over the age of 40. Listen

Barbara Hillary is a 75-year-old cancer survivor and the first black woman to reach the North Pole. The Harlem native says when she learned a black man had reached the top of the world but a woman hadn't, she decided to change that fact. Listen

Dave Zarco has been described as a walking billboard for one of the fastest growing and most popular sports in the world -- badminton. Optometric physician George Schmidt has broken seven World Masters Records and has been the world's fastest swimmer over 50 several times. We spoke with both on the eve of the 2007 National Senior Games. Listen

Bill Hargrove is the world's oldest bowler. At 106, He still bowls in a weekly league near his home in Georgia despite his failing eyesight. Games. Listen

Robert Sleigh may have retired as a philosophy professor, but he was far from retired from life. At age 75, he not only entered the World Championships of Indoor Rowing, but he won! Listen

Lou Whitney flies over hills at high speeds, takes sharp turns on dirt tracks and he competes in Motocross championships, all at the age of 72. Listen

Sumi Onodera-Leonard, the 76-year-old World Masters Track Champion was in a head-on car crash that nearly killed her. Doctors said she'd never walk again. Now, at the age of 79, she has made it back on the track and into the world rankings. Listen

Zahid Butar is a former world-class athlete turned coach and businessman who says even if you've spent years sitting on your couch you can still compete in a triathlon. Listen

Anne Abernathy, known worldwide as "Grandma Luge," is the oldest woman to ever compete in the Winter Olympics. Now she's facing her toughest opponent yet -- cancer. Listen

John Dane III is personifies persistence. It took 40 years but he finally achieved his Olypmpic Dream. At 58, he was the oldest member of the U.S. Olympic team. Listen

Roz Savage was a successful executive but couldn't shake the feeling that there was something more. She was a rower in college and that gave her the greatest satisfaction of her life. She decided to rebuild her life around rowing. Now, she's on a quest to become the first woman in history to row across the Pacific.

 

© 2006-2014. Growing Bolder Media Group. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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