The Ageless Wonders of Sports
Every so often there are special athletes that come along who do not let their advanced age be a factor in their success on their prospective field of competition.
These athletes baffle the critics and reignite talk of why they are truly the best...possibly ever. Even though 10 were selected here, it is safe to say that there are more out there also deserving of such an honor.
The selected few chosen for this list were picked from a wide range to reflect that this just doesn't happen in only a few sports.
10. Otis Anderson - Super Bowl XXV
Otis Anderson, at the age of 34, won the MVP for the champion Giants in Super Bowl XXV. He rushed for 102 yards on 21 carries and scored a touchdown.
His play kept the ball control on the Giants side of the field, not allowing Jim Kelly and the Bills to overtake the game.
A Scott Norwood miss on a field goal with time expiring sealed the second Super Bowl title for the Giants.
9. Chris Chelios - 2002 Stanley Cup Playoffs and Winter Olympics
In 2002 at the age of 40, Chris Chelios showed he had not lost a step. He helped lead the Red Wings to the Stanley Cup championship with a combination of good fundamental defensive work and a natural talent to get under opponents' skin.
He also captained the USA hockey team of many players half his age to silver medal in the Salt Lake City games.
8. Kenny Rogers - 2006 AL Playoffs
The main reason the 2006 Detroit Tigers were able to shock the world and reach the World Series after so many years of futility was Kenny Rogers.
At the age of 44, he may not have any real speed left for a quality fastball, he made up for in a arsenal many different pitches to carve opposing batters apart.
His inner fire inspired the team to keep it together in upsetting a still-quality Yankees team in the ALDS and then sweeping the Athletics in the ALCS to take the Tigers to the World Series for the first time since 1984.
No Tiger fan will ever forget his his intense yells as he tore apart the batters on the both the Yankees and the A's.
He led the celebrations after the Tigers won the pennant by taking the champagne celebration to the fans in a rocking Comerica Park.
7. George Foreman - Heavyweight Title in 1994
The victory by 45-year-old George Foreman against Michael Moorer on Nov. 5, 1994, to win back the heavyweight championship belt took the country by storm.
A monster of positive outlook, Foreman defied the critics in returning to the ring after a decade away.
He may have not had as much power as he used to when he first had the title.
However, he made up for it with a level of experience that Michael Moorer did not have when he knocked him out in the 10th round to capture the IBF and WBO belts.
6. Randy Couture - UFC 74
At UFC 74, 44 year old Randy Couture cemented his legacy as the greatest UFC fighter ever. He faced off against Gabriel Gonzaga to defend his heavyweight title.
From the opening bell, Couture dominated the fight. At one point, a takedown by Couture smashed Gonzaga's nose so badly that the excess blood got into Gonzaga's eyes, leading to a temporary stoppage.
Early in the third round, a right high kick by Gonzaga was blocked by Couture's left forearm The force of the kick broke the ulna in that forearm.
However, Couture showed little discomfort, and later in the same round, he knocked Gonzaga down and proceeded to let loose a salvo of punches to force the TKO.
5. Martina Navratilova - 1990 and Beyond
Martina Navratilova defies the idea that there is some age that tennis players should stop playing. She has won the career grand slam in singles, doubles and mixed doubles.
In 1990, she won her last singles title at Wimbeldon at the age of 33 which was her ninth Wimbeldon title and the all-time record.
At the age of 46, she won her last doubles titles (mixed) at the 2003 Australian Open and Wimbledon.
She soon left "competitive" tennis with a record that will last forever of 1,442 wins to only 219 losses, easily making her one of the greatest tennis players ever.
4. Nolan Ryan - No-hitters, strikeouts, and fists
There will never be a force on the mound like the Ryan Express. His command of the fastball will never be equaled. Nor will be the duration and stamina he held in command of such a pitch.
He holds the all-time record with seven no-hitters, and the last two of those were achieved after he turned 40. He pitched a total of 27 seasons, which is also the all-time record.
During his career, he collected another all-time record of 5,714 strikeouts, a respectable 324 wins and an amazing ERA of 3.19 for such a long career.
Another of his achievements occurred during his last season on Aug. 4, 1993 at the age of 46. He threw a pitch to White Sox hitter Robin Ventura. The ball hit Ventura in the head and he responded by rushing the mound.
Ryan immediately put Ventura in a headlock and punched him repeatedly. To add insult to injury, Ventura was tossed; however, Ryan was allowed to keep pitching.
3. Henry Aaron - 715 Home Runs
Henry Aaron proved age didn't matter when he broke Babe Ruth's home run record at the age of 40 on April 8, 1974, in Atlanta against Al Downing of the Dodgers. His achievement was rife with death threats and FBI protection.
Henry Aaron's style in breaking the record was unique, in that he did it without ever hitting more than 47 home runs in a single season.
He kept up a pace of offensive output that also left him second at the time of his retirement in hits with 3,771, which meant he could have easily focused on breaking that record. Aaron was also the all-time leader with 2,297 RBI.
He also never had more than 97 strikeouts in a year which does not follow the normal makeup of the current crop of home run hitters.
2. Dara Torres - 2008 Summer Olympics
Dara Torres being the first 40-year-old female swimmer in Olympic history would have been the top story in Beijing if it weren't for some guy named Phelps.
She came within 0.01 of a second of winning the gold medal in the 50m Freestyle. She lost to Germany's Brtta Steffan, who is 16 years her junior.
However, Dara still broke the American record for her effort. She also won the silver medals in the 4x100m Freestyle and Medley Relays.
It is quite impressive that 2008 was her fifth Olympics; however, it is even more striking that she missed the 1996 and 2004 games in between to reach that mark.
Her other achievement at the Beijing Games was her sportsmanship. She purposefully delayed the start of her 50m semifinal heat to reach the final so another competitor could change her suit.
That competitor did not qualify for the final, however such an act is far greater than any medal could present. She has now 12 Olympic medals for a career that still could keep going.
1. Kurt Warner - Super Bowl XLIII
Kurt Warner's play in Super Bowl XLIII could have easily given him the MVP. At the age of 37, he threw for 377 yards on 31 completions, with three touchdowns.
His passing yards in the game were the second highest total in Super Bowl history. It looked like the game was over after Larry Fitzgerald caught Warner's 64-yard pass for a touchdown with a little over two minutes to spare.
However, the Steelers responded with Santanio Holmes' toes at the back of the end zone to end the game.