Start your day with a smile.

Sign up for Morning Smile to get good news in your inbox daily!

Sign Up Now!
senior athletes tim tadder

12 Incredible Senior Athletes Who Are Proving Age Is Just A Number

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine an athlete in the best shape of their life. Chances are, you pictured a person in their 20s or 30s — definitely not someone as old as your grandparents.

But ask Tim Tadder and he’ll tell you elderly folks can be just as strong, competitive, and inspiring as their younger counterparts. His powerful photos from the 2019 National Senior Games, presented by Humana, prove it.

This year, the photographer, known for his photos of iconic athletes, captured a different aspect of healthy lifestyles, regardless of age. Get ready for your motivation to skyrocket after you check out the 12 senior athletes he featured below.

1. Vivian Stancil, 72. Legally blind, experiencing a heart murmur, and weighing more than 300 pounds in her 50s, Vivian turned her life around through swimming and lost over 100 pounds. Now she competes on a state and national level. She also runs the Vivian Stancil Olympian Foundation, helping seniors and at-risk youth participate in athletics.

senior athlete
Tim Tadder

2. Victor Kerst, 71, returned home from serving in the Vietnam War to immerse himself in running. After competing in half-marathons, marathons, and triathlons across the country, Victor traded running for swimming at 70 and has bagged multiple first-place medals in the freestyle competition.

senior athlete
Tim Tadder

3. Deette Sauer, 77, went from being morbidly obese to joining a U. S. Masters Swim Team and winning numerous medals at the National Senior Games. She was also inducted into the Texas Senior Olympics Hall of Fame. Most importantly, though, she says swimming has given her a sense of community and camaraderie with her fellow swimmers.

senior athlete
Tim Tadder

4. Kathy Meares, 72, wouldn’t let four knee replacements slow her down. The runner was devastated when her doctor told her she’d have to quit. So she started powerwalking instead and got her time down to an 11.5-minute mile. Competing at the National Senior Games for the first time, Kathy finished in first place in the 70-74 age group Power Walk 1500M.

senior athlete
Tim Tadder

5. Kay Glynn, 66, the Iowa state record-holder for the long jump put her track and field days aside for three decades to raise a family. Jumping back in at 48, she soon began setting records again and now holds multiple gold medals and world records in master’s events.

senior athlete
Tim Tadder

6. Dick Johnson, 78, is a pickle ball player who has competed and won medals in all seven recognized national and world championships in one year. He holds nearly 200 medals (mostly gold) and has gone to 90 sanctioned tournaments across the country, including the National Senior Games.

senior athlete
Tim Tadder

7. Bill Otto, 86, threw himself into cycling after hip issues made running too difficult. He’s since broken two Florida state records in his age category and won more than 75 gold and silver medals, including four national silver medals, in less than 25 years.

senior athlete
Tim Tadder

8. Carol Klenfner, 74. The table tennis champion found a renewed sense of community, hope, and purpose in the sport after a life-altering event in 2009. This year, Carol competed in the National Senior Games for the second time.

senior athlete
Tim Tadder

9. Heide Moebius, 80, began running at 55 and hasn’t stopped since because, she says, “My body likes it and I’m good at it.” She has completed a total of 714 races worldwide, including 100 half-marathons and 10 marathons.

senior athlete
Tim Tadder

10. Kamal Chaudhari, 84. This badminton whiz, who despite battling skin and prostate cancer three different times, hasn’t stopped competing. Kamal loves feeling strong and active while playing singles, doubles, and mixed doubles games.

senior athlete
Tim Tadder

11. Pat Lillehei, 75. This triathlete’s journey started in 2008 when she rode with her daughter in the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s 150-mile bike ride. Encouraged after finishing that race, she went on to finish a triathlon, too.

senior athlete
Tim Tadder

12. JoAnn Sampson, 78, gave track and field a chance after retiring in 2002 and won a gold medal in her first race. She went on to represent Florida in that year’s National Senior Games and these days feels more youthful than ever.

senior athlete
Tim Tadder

If this is what our golden years look like, we can’t wait!

Share this story as a reminder that you can live your best life at any age.


Share your story & inspire the world.
If you have an uplifting story we would love to hear about it! Share it with us here.

Report Post

Want more good news like this in your inbox? Sign up for Morning Smile to start your day with news that will make you smile.