Not Over the Hill Yet: Athletes Over 40 with Major Contributions
I bet you know some athletes. You can find them almost anywhere. There is a
handful of good athletes. Athletes you can think out of the top of your head, Athletes that are nearby, athletes in the Olympics, so on.
Another group of athletes is set apart from the normal athletes.
These athletes are the best of the best. In this group is 48-year-old gunslinger. Also there is a man who was a leading scorer on his hockey team when he was 50.
Who is this group of players? This group of players is amazing athletes that have had a major accomplishment 40 years or older of age.
They are set apart from the sports world. It is so hard to be in this group of athletes that you might have to become a Masters Champion at 46 (Jack Nicklaus) or be the fastest player on your football team at 40 (Darrell Green) Athletes 40 years of age and older have to play a very long time in there sport.
Most athletes play until about age 30 and then they will hang up the hat. Just as this group of athletes will play at least 10 years more of sports than the average professional athlete.
Who are some of the amazing athletes that I will discuss? Also, what accomplishment did they make? Some of the people you will hear about you have already heard of.
Some people you will see, you may not exactly know. The athletes that will be discussed in 10 slides are Eamonn Coghlan, Dara Torres, Hank Aaron, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Martina Navratilova, Darrell Green, Jack Nicklaus, George Foreman, Nolan Ryan, and George Blanda.
10. Eamonn Coghlan runs the mile in less than 4 minutes
Eamonn Coghlan, the former World Champion at the 5,000 Meter Dash; clocked the mile at 3:58:15, making the Irish man the fastest man 40 or older to run the mile in less than four minutes.
His amazing time in a race in Cambrige, Mass., makes him No. 10 on the list. Coghlan is a three-time Olympian for the Irish.
Coghlan was nicknamed "The Chairman of the Boards" for his success in Indoor track. His feat was accomplished in 1994.
9. Dara Torres qualifies for Olympics at 41
At 41, with a 2 year old child, you would not expect Dara Torres to be in the Olympics. Think again. Dara Torres qualified for yet her 5th Summer Olympics in Beijing last summer.
At the qualifying round, Torres won the 50 and 100 meter freestyle races, but opted out of the 100 meter free in the Medal rounds.
Dara Torres is one out of 20 athletes over 40 years of age that praticipated for the United States in the 2008 Summer Olympics. USA! USA!
8. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wins NBA title at 40
In 1988, at 40 years old; the un-disputed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did something amazing. Phenomenally, at 40 years of age, Abdul-Jabbar guided L.A to an NBA title.
Abdul-Jabbar won his fifth NBA title with the Lakers. He also played the 1989 season with Los Angeles.
Kareem was 7-foot-2 and scored more than any other player in NBA history: 38,387 points. He led the Lakers to the finals in each of his last three seasons.
Kareem also played for the Milwaukee Bucks. He was known for his sky-hook shots and his incredible instinct to block shots.
7. Hank Aaron breaks home run record at age 40
Hank Aaron, at 39; was set to break Babe Ruth's home run record during the summer of 1973.
He was able to hit home run No. 713 on Sept. 29, 1973, but he could not tie Ruth's record on the last day of the season, which many expected him to do so.
After the end of the last game, Hank stated that his only fear was that he might not live to the 1974 season, because many racists sent death threats to him. They did not want to see Hank Aaron break the mountain-high record of Babe Ruth.
Thankfully, brave old Hank withstood the racial vulgarness and death threats. He recived a great amount of public support, also.
Sports Illustarted summarized the racial cruelty very well.
"Is this to be the year in which Aaron, at the age of 39, takes a moon walk above one of the most hallowed individual records in American sport...?
"Or will it be remembered as the season in which Aaron, the most dignified of athletes, was besieged with hate mail and trapped by the cobwebs and goblins that lurk in baseball's attic?"
The Braves organization faced a small challenge traveling to the Reds, because they wanted him to break the record in Atlanta.
The commissioner wanted him to play two of three games at Cincinnati. He would tie the record at Cincinnati, and a record crowd of 53,775 people saw Aaron break the record at Atlanta.
He hit the bomb off Dodgers pitcher Al Downing. Outfielder Bill Buckner leaped over the wall to try to catch it, but Hank had hit it into the Atlanta bullpen.
Aaron's mother and ironically, two white college students ran the bases with him. On July 20, 1976, Hank hit his 755th and final home run as a Milwaukee Brewer vs. the California Angels.
6. Martina Navratilova wins Grand Slam Title a month before her 50th Birthday
Martina Navratilova won many awards in tennis. She holds a record of 9 Wimbledon titles. Martina has won more singles matches than anyone in history.
In 2000, she was introduced into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. If that isn't good, try to be ranked No. 19 on ESPN's All-time Greatest Athletes List. And trust me, she has a lot more than that.
But one of Navratilova's biggest, wildest feats comes when she won her 59th Grand slam Title. Let me be clear: 59th Grand Slam Title! Wow.
But she won that Grand Slam Title a month before her 50th Birthday! She teamed with Bob Bryan to win her last title, in the U.S Open Mixed Doubles Championship.
5. Darrell Green retires at 42 with at least one interception a season for 19 years
The amazing 5'9 Darrell Green retired with at least one interception a season for 19 seasons in a row.
This is simply incredible. The first time he touched the ball in the NFL, he ran it back for a touchdown.
He was voted to seven Pro Bowls in his time in the NFL, 1983- 2002. With the Redskins, his only team; he was under six coaches.
If that is not enough, he had 54 career interceptions, and played 295 games. He is the record holder for most seasons with one team (20). Darrell Green was also the fastest player on the team.
He was not only a superstar, but he also was a great man. He helped form a charity and has three children, one; Jared, plays for the Virginia Cavailers. Darrell won two Super Bowls with the Redskins. Without doubt, he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2008.
4. Jack Nicklaus wins Masters at 46 and Places sixth at Masters at 56
The "Golden Bear" is one of the most celebrated golfers in history. In his 20's and 30's, Nicklaus won all kinds of awards. He was unstoppable. In 1959 and 1961, he won 2 Amateur Championships.
In 1962, only a young golfer, he had already won the U.S Open. Between 1971 and 1980, he won nine major championships.
Overall, Nicklaus won 18 major championships. Try smoking that down your pipe. His last championship came at the Masters in 1986, where he was 46 years old.
You don't see men the age of 46 winning the Masters every day, do you? He even came sixth in the Masters at 56, and fourth at the British Open during the same year.
3. George Foreman knocks out 26-year old Michael Moorer at age 45
George Foreman is the boxer who had a 27-0 amateur record. He turned pro in 1969. George was the boxer who won an Olympic Gold- Medal and won The Heavyweight World championship In the 1970's.
He won that heavyweight championship against "Smokin" Joe Frazier. After a 10-year retirement in 1987, Big George began his comeback to the top of Boxing. 1994 is when the highlight comes.
Big George faced Michael Moorer in the World Championship on November 5th, 1994 in Las Vegas, Nevada after Moorer had defeated Evander Holyfield to set up the World Championship fight.
Foreman went on to prove that age didn't matter, by knocking out Moorer in the 10th Round. He was 45 years old.
2. Nolan Ryan wins 53 combinded outings from age 41-45
Nolan Ryan is a pitcher that can throw the baseball the speed of a race car. Guess what? Ryan threw pitches well over 100 MPH over the age of 40. The streaking pitcher had WELL over 1,000 strikeouts when he was 40 years old.
An amazing feat that puts Nolan at No. 2 on the list is that he won a combined 53 pitching duels from ages 41-45.
After a rare losing season at 40, Ryan put the heat on from age 41-45. At age 40, Ryan had a 2.75 ERA, but went 8-16; with a .333 winning percent.
He still finished fifth in Cy Young voting. In 1988, He moved to the Texas Rangers. By August, 22 1989, Nolan had 5,000 strikeouts; his 5,000th against Ricky Henderson.
After the game Henderson said " If he ain't struck you out, you ain't nobody." He pitched seven no-hitters in the major leauges.
He finally retired at 46 in the year 1993; but Nolan didn't retire without over 27 seasons of playing Pro Baseball and having over 53 pitching victories from 41-45.
1.George Blanda leads Raiders to 5 comeback wins in a row at 43
The NFL is a young man's game. Most players hit the deck around 35 years old. Not George Blanda. George was born on Sept. 17, 1927 in Youngwood, Pa., and played 26 seasons for the Colts, Bears, Oilers and Raiders.
He played until the age of 48, when most football players would be on the couch watching others on Sunday.
The University of Kentucky product played longer than anyone in football. When his arm gave out, he became a kicker.
At 6'2, 215 pounds, Blanda could do about anything at quarterback. George scored 2,002 points in his time with football. Try passing for 236 Touchdown passes.
He was the oldest quarterback to compete in an NFL Title game. His list of feats goes on and on and on. He was a no-brainer to be picked in the hall of fame. He has played way longer than anyone else.
But chew on one of his most interesting accomplishments that he is known for:
He led the Raiders to five comeback victories in a row at 43. The surging-hot streak started at against the Steelers, where he threw three TDs and kicked one FG.
His streak continued when he kicked a 48-yard field goal to tie Kansas City with three seconds remaining. In the last 96 seconds vs. the Browns, he threw a touchdown pass and kicked a 43-yard field goal.
Next featured another touchdown pass to slide pass Denver and a field goal to upend the Chargers. How did he do this? How is this possible? Most quarterbacks ages 20-30 couldn't do this. George could...even at 43.