The Evolution of Senior Sports


Time Comparison Track and Field

How much have the abilities of older adults increased? Here’s one interesting perspective — the men’s winning times in four of the marquee events in the 1896 Olympics compared to the times of men and women competing today in master’s sports.

1896 Men’s Olympic Champion

Marathon: 2:58:00.00

100 Meter Dash: 00:12.00

2023 Masters record


Men 70-74: 2:54:19.00

Women 60-64: 2:52:13.00

100 Meter Dash

Men 60-64: 00:11.83

Women 50-54: 00:11.67

Time Comparison Swimming

In swimming, the difference is even more astounding. In the 100-meter freestyle, an 85-year-old man and 80-year-old woman would contend with the men’s 1896 Olympic champion.

In the 400-meter freestyle (the longest distance swum in 1896), a 90-year-old man and an 85-year-old woman would destroy the men’s 1896 Olympic champion.

1896 Men’s Olympic Champion

100 Meter Freestyle: 1:22.20

400 Meter Freestyle: 8:12.00

2023 Masters record

100 Meter Freestyle

Men 85-90: 1:22.55

Women 80-85: 1:23.16

400 Meter Freestyle

Men 90-94: 8:01

Women 85-89: 7:03

This article is featured in the Summer 2023 issue of The Growing Bolder Digital Digest.

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