Aging athletes don’t have the agility they had in their youth. Minor injuries accumulate and become major ones. And by the time they hit their mid-30s and 40s, they’re considered geriatric – that’s the conventional wisdom. But recently, middle-aged athletes have defied the tolls of aging, returning to competition and whizzing past their junior rivals.
“Forties is the new 30s for physiological capacity,” said Scott Trappe, director of the Human Performance Lab at Ball State University. “We’re going to continue to see people do well into their 40s – no question.”
Seven-time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong returned to the premier cycling race after three and a half years in retirement. The 37-year-old cyclist is currently ranked third in the competition.
Ethiopian runner Haile Gebrselassie broke the world record for the fastest marathon in September at the age of 35. Last summer in Beijing, veteran swimmer and medalist Dara Torres won three silver medals including the 50 meter freestyle. She was 41.