Older athletes – Pushing the Envelope in Sports

By | July 8, 2008

Today’s athletes are getting older and older. But neither are they bowing out, or fading away, they are actually pushing the envelope ever further. We all probably have heard of the saying, “Life Begins at Forty.” But why is it we don’t seem to believe that, deep down within? Recently, Dara Torres qualified for the Beijing Olympics – at age 41, a mother of a daughter, and participant of 4 Olympics stretching back to 1984!

Dara Torres is far from the only one, there’s also a Bulgarian gymnast, Oksana Chusovitina, who will be among the oldest (if not the oldest) female gymnasts to ever compete in an Olympics event. In sports, if you’re 30, you’re already ancient, and in female gymnastics, people commonly retire when they are in their twenties.

You see it more and more these days – older sportsmen and sportswomen who are still (highly) competitive, at ages which are already (conveniently) considered by many as being “over the hill.” I just LOVE these stories though, because they prove that old age may be a lot further away than we thought. Just because I’m 50, or Mother Nature considers me “obsolete,” it doesn’t mean I quit on living, and that’s what I’ve been trying to point out all along.

What about doping?

SwimmingBear in mind that the Olympics this time will feature some of the most stringent testing ever, and given the publicity on human growth hormone in recent years, will be one of the top 3 substances on the radar. Of course, there is no foolproof method of detection. So if these folks are taking HGH and getting away with it, it’s either these folks have some brilliant way to hide the HGH intake, or the testing methods are still inadequate.

But people, aren’t you forgetting something?

Just by the fact that sports is their LIFE, and the fact that human growth hormone production only rises after physical activity (the more strenuous, the better), has anyone given thought that these “over the hill” athletes would actually (naturally) have higher levels of HGH than the average person similarly aged, and walking (strolling) down the street?

The point is – You don’t have to be an Olympic medal contender to be in superb physical condition at age 40 and even 50. Whether these “aged” athletes take growth hormone or not, is not the issue here. Taking a look at both angles….

If they had really been taking HGH injections

If they did, than it further solidifies all my beliefs about the effectiveness of HGH in barricading against aging, and enabling aging athletes to compete at the highest levels. But sports still considers HGH an unfair advantage, so that’s why nobody’s talking….

If they have NOT been taking HGH injections

Not much of an argument here. They would still be in better shape than the other 99% of humanity at the equivalent age, because their HGH levels would STILL be higher than normal, due to good nutrition, punishing physical regimen, and positive mental/emotional conditioning (all playing their part). HGH is after all, just a naturally occurring hormone in the body, whose release is highly dependent on many internal/external factors.

If you take into account all the intensive training, experience, good genetics and coaching, what is so surprising about senior” athletes trumping much younger athletes? Remember, HGH doesn’t win anyone competitions, and never will. Unlike steroids (which are NOT growth hormones), many doctors have remarked that HGH doesn’t seem to give much edge in sporting performance. So at any rate, Darra Torres for one, is a testament of effective training and genuine skill.

The bottom line

The bottom line is, these athletes are showing us that we really should be reconsidering how we all view aging and old age. What is exactly “old age” or “peak age,” then? I look forward to the day when age 40-50 will at least be regarded as age 30-40. I don’t think that is too way off anymore, even now.