The sports world is abuzz this week with swimmer Dara Torres’ record-setting 50-meter free-style win, qualifying her to compete on behalf of the United States at the 2008 summer Olympics. The catch? Torres is a 41 year old in a sport dominated by teenagers. She may be getting older, but she still got game.
Inspired by Torres’ success (and who isn’t?) The Miami Herald listed a few other athletes who excelled in their craft after hitting 40.
-Eamonn Coghlan: In 1994, the 41-year-old Irish miler and former world champion at 5,000 meters becomes the first person over 40 to run a sub-4 minute mile. Coghlan clocks a 3:58.15 at a race in Cambridge, Mass.
-George Foreman: In 1994, at age 45, the boxer regains part of the heavyweight title he lost to Muhammad Ali 20 years earlier, stopping Michael Moorer with a two-punch combination in the 10th round. Foreman captures the IBF and WBA championships to become the oldest champion in any weight class.
-Jack Nicklaus: In 1986, the golfing great wins his last major championship, the Masters, at age 46.
-Nolan Ryan: In 1990, at age 43, threw the sixth no-hitter of his career, blanking Oakland 5-0 while pitching for the Texas Rangers. The next season, at age 44, Ryan tossed his seventh no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays.
-Darrell Green: Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in February in his first year of eligibility, the Washington Redskins cornerback was 42 when he retired after the 2002 season. He had at least one interception in 19 consecutive seasons.
-Martina Navratilova: A month before her 50th birthday, in 2006, the tennis champion finished her career by winning her 59th Grand Slam title, teaming with Bob Bryan to take the mixed doubles championship at the U.S. Open.
To this illustrious list, I would add hockey legend Gordie Howe, who played until the age of 53 (and on a team with two of his sons!) I suppose we could also add Roger Clemens, but perhaps with an asterix? Who else would readers add to the hall-of-after-40 fame?