Long hours and hard workouts make for the training regime of any Olympic athlete. It is not for the faint at heart and most athletes today are in their teens or twenties. But tell that to some of the women that are working to earn a spot at the 2012 London Olympics.
These ladies aren't in their teens. They aren't even in their twenties or thirties. These ladies are over 40 and are still beating out their younger competitors. Some names are very familiar, others may not be. But one thing is for certain, these ladies deserve a lot of respect.
Janet Evans has been a member of three Olympic teams and is a five-time Olympic medalist in swimming and is known as the best female distance swimmer in U.S. history. She has won four Olympic gold medals and is a three-time world record holder. She still holds the record in the 800-meter. Evans was born on August 28, 1971 and if her Olympic comeback is successful, she will be competing at the age of 40 this summer.
Dara Torres was born on April 15, 1967 and will be 45 at the 2012 Summer Olympics. The Olympics are nothing new for Torres, who has competed in five Olympic Games and earned 12 Olympic medals. At the 2008 Beijing Games, Torres became the oldest swimmer to ever compete in the Olympics and walked away with three silver medals. But, don't tell Torres she is too old. She is currently working to make her sixth Olympic appearance.
Karen O'Connor was born on February 17, 1958 and is attempting to make her fifth Olympic team at the age of 54. She is a member of the U.S. equestrian team and won a silver medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games and a bronze in Sydney in 2000.
Gao Jun was born on January 25, 1969 and began playing table tennis at age five in China. While competing for China, she won silver in doubles at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. As a four-time Olympian, Jun now resides in the United States and has earned herself the top rank in the U.S. for table tennis, as well as a spot on the 2012 Olympic team at the age of 43.
Now, this is only a small sampling of the many female athletes over 40 that will be participating in the 2012 London Summer Games. It just goes to show that age is only a number and you can do anything you put your mind to.
Deborah Braconnier is a former athlete and avid sports and Olympics fan. She now works as a freelance writer and Featured Contributor for the Olympics and NFL and brings her love of sports to her writing. Follow her on Twitter @fwcdeborah.
- Dara Torres
- Janet Evans
- 2012 London Olympics