On March 12, 53-year-old Mitch Seavey became the oldest winner of the Iditarod Trail Dog Race in the event’s history, completing the arduous 1,000-mile dog-sled competition in nine days, seven hours and 39 minutes.
Seavey won a $50,000 cash prize and a new pickup truck, in addition to securing a spot on the corner of the sports pantheon reserved for 50-and-older champions.
Here are a few other members of that exclusive club:
- Sam Snead. The golf legend became the oldest ever to win a PGA tour event in 1965, when he triumphed in the Greater Greensboro Open at age 52. He won that tournament eight times in his career — the first time in 1938, at age 27. Here are Snead’s career highlights.
- Oscar Swahn. At the London Olympics in 1908, the Swedish competitive rifle marksman won two gold medals at age 60. He went on to win another gold and a bronze at the Stockholm Olympiad in 1912, and a silver in Antwerp in 1920, at age 72.
- John Handegard. In 1995, at age 57, Handegard became the oldest winner in the history of the Professional Bowlers Association, winning all four matches in the Northwest Classic in Kennewick, Wash.
- Queenie Newall. At London’s first Olympic Games, in 1908, British archer Sybil Fenton Newall, better known as Queenie, became the oldest female gold medalist in history (53 years 275 days).
- Joe Ruttman. In 2001, Ruttman, at age 56, beat two drivers roughly half his age to win a 250-mile truck race and become the oldest winner in the history of the Daytona International Speedway. “It’s a ball racing these young guys,” Ruttman said afterward. “That’s what keeps me young, seeing if I can outwit them.”
- Dave Kidney. A pro wrestler, Kidney won the British Wrestling Association’s featherweight (126 pounds and under) championship in 1959. Amazingly, when the BBC decided to shoot a 2009 documentary about Kidney, he was still was wrestling at age 78. Even more amazingly, Kidney still technically held the featherweight title he had claimed 50 years before, due in part to a lack of competition at that size. “Most people my age are sitting around twiddling their thumbs, watching the goggle box, playing dominoes down the pub or on the bowling green,” he told the Sun, a British tabloid, in an interview. “That’s not my cup of tea.”