Nadine O’Connor


Nadine O’Connor is one of the most dynamic people we’ve ever come across. At 70, she’s a grandmother, a retired mathematics teacher and a world-record setting Hall of Fame track star.

She holds world records in pole vault, hurtles, the 100m, 200m and decathalon.

She and her significant other Bud Held, a former Olympian and world-class master’s track star himself, have launched a new project to help their fellow athletes. They’ve created a website to gather information that will be used to create a national database on total knee replacements for older athletes.

Nadine explains why they saw the need for a place like to gather this information, which is very difficult to come by for older athletes looking to extend their competitive years.

She says for far too long, most of the knee replacements out there have been designed for those who are older and sedentary. But that’s not how her generation and those just behind her want to live out their golden years.

Nadine describes the exciting testing Bud is doing on materials that could one day be used for knee replacements. And he’s got a proven track record in changing sports forever — he invented the world’s first aluminum tennis racquet, the first aluminum racquetball racquet and founded Ektelon, which was eventually purchased by Prince Sports.

Nadine says their new website has received some positive feedback from both athletes and orthopedic surgeons precisely because neither she nor Bud are doctors or in the medical profession. She says they like that they’re thinking outside the box and not tied in with one particular manufacturer.

She explains the exciting new ways they’re hoping to change knee replacements forever and describes how she still competes at 70.

Want to hear more from Nadine? Click here to listen to our 2006 interview with Nadine.