Did you see Shaun White, two-time gold medalist, lose his bid at an unprecedented third gold medal in snowboard halfpipe on Tuesday night? He was 11th going into the final round and came in fourth—the first time in the Olympics without a medal. Let’s be honest. What was the first thing you thought when Shaun came up short? That’s it for him. He’ll probably retire…after all he’s 27 years old. He’ll be 31 when the Olympics rolls around again. There’s an amazing 15 year old, Ayumu Hirano (who won the silver) who’ll be competing when he’s 19.
It’s like it’s embedded in our psyche—the older you are the less competitive you are.
Let’s contrast that thinking with the phenomenal story of Olga Koteko, a 94-year-old track star, the only woman in the world over 90 still long-jumping and high-jumping competitively. She entered her first competition at 77. At age 85 she had shattered 20 world records in one year. She’s excited to be 95 soon (in March) and competing in a new age bracket. How many of us, over forty that is, are excited to be getting older? Now really?
I believe that aging is mostly in our minds. When we hear of someone dying in their 90’s, most of us think, well…she was in her 90’s. I like Olga’s attitude better. She’s excited about life and looking forward to getting older. Take a look at the article linked to this post. She fell down the stairs, bounced at the bottom and got back up. No big deal.
I admire Olga’s spirit and will focus on what she teaches us as I look forward to training for the Boston Marathon in 2015 and shooting for another personal record at the age of 60. One of the things Olga teaches us as we age is to keep moving — “un-sedentariness” — is more important than working out. And to not take life so seriously. Olga says, “Laugh at yourself.” Have fun and enjoy life.
I don’t know about you, but having a goal, a challenging goal, gets my heart pumping—something that moves me out of my comfort zone. It doesn’t matter what age you happen to be.
Oh yes, Shaun White has announced that he may yet compete in another Olympics. Good for him. Thirty-one doesn’t sound so old to me…
Let’s break barriers together!
Note: My upcoming book Breaking Barriers is still upcoming. I must admit I got side-lined with other projects. One of my “challenging” goals is to become a professional speaker and my speaking career is starting to happen a little sooner than I had planned. I got ambitious and recorded a presentation I made last month and have produced my first audio CD titled How To Never Be Unemployed. In my other life I am an Executive Recruiter with 30 years of experience. It is very close to completion along with my new website and I’ll give you the link in my next blog entry in case you’d like to check it out.