Olga Kotelko, a 94-year old woman from Vancouver, Canada, is considered to be one of the world’s greatest athletes. Yes, we said 94!
The farmer’s daughter, lifelong schoolteacher and single mom to two, started playing softball after her retirement at the age of 70. Showing significant prowess when it came to running and throwing, she gave up her place on the softball team and took up track and field.
At age 77, Olga started training for track and field events with a coach, and today continues to travel the globe, competing in Master’s events in her age range (90-95). The track star is breaking world records, and has won over 700 gold medals.
In an interview with the Today show, Olga said, “I chose to be a young-at-heart athlete rather than an old woman. I’ve still got the energy I had at 50. Where does it come from? Honestly, I don’t know. It’s a mystery to me too.” Showing the ability of someone at least 30 years her junior, Olga’s goal is to live to 120.
So, what is Olga’s secret? Aside from being genetically blessed, she exercises daily, both physically and mentally, sharing that Suduko puzzles are one of her favorite games. She eats small meals, several times a day, which include pickled herring, sauerkraut, and a “bit of scotch every now and then”.
Olga is the subject of the new book, What Makes Olga Run? The Mystery of the 90-Something Track Star and What She Can Teach Us About Living Longer, Happier Lives, by author Bruce Grierson. The author accompanies Olga on track meets and to meetings with researchers who hope to learn the secrets of her age-resistant muscles and tissue.
But it’s Olga’s incredible attitude where we think we can learn the most. “Keep a positive outlook and face everyday with a smile.”
Now only if we could bottle that!
Lead photo via Torino 2013 World Masters Games