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Ageism in Sports
  The Elevate Me Team 01:57 PM


Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Here are some encouraging words of wisdom from the young-at-heart Shellen Thomas, one of Canada's top female weightlifters of any age, and one of our Ambassadors.

"You are as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fears; as young as your hope, as old as your despair." - Samuel Ullman

Recently, it seems I've been bombarded by other athletes in the gym saying this statement to me: "I'm getting too old for this". The problem is that most of the people saying this are under 30. Annoying? Very. There was a time when it was perceived that if you were over a certain age, your athletic career was over.  I am so extremely happy that this has changed so drastically.

There are so many opportunities for athletes of ANY age to go compete in a myriad of sports. Last year I traveled to Torino, Italy for the World Master Games. This event is only held every four years (like the Olympics). The next time it will be held is in 2017 in Auckland, New Zealand. This is a quote from the World Masters Games site: "The World Masters Games are the most important world sporting event for sportspeople over 30, involving a number of participants four times higher than a summer edition of the Olympic Games." Can you imagine? 30 years of age to over 80 years of age.  Amazing!!!

Here are some amazing athletes that hopefully will encourage you along your journey:

Duff Gibson, Canadian Skeleton slider, Olympic Gold Medalist became the oldest Winter Olympics champion at the age of 39

Olga Kotelko is a Masters athlete that has inspired a book - What makes Olga run? By Bruce Grierson - about her amazing accomplishments in sports and has been studied by medical professionals on the effects of sports on master athletes.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/10/seeking-the-keys-to-longevity-in-what-makes-olga-run/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of watching an amazing athlete in action at a powerlifting meet in Calgary. Doreen Kimura (52kg weight class 75+ age category) dead lifted her body weight!

http://calgary.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=283678&binId=1.1201914&playlistPageNum=1

I ran across this video about Svend Sttensgaard, a 91 year old man who is listed as the oldest  powerlifter  in his federation.

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20788084,00.html#vid

Marcel Perron, a Canadian weightlifter in the Men's 80+ year old category, had a total of 141kg in the Snatch and Clean and Jerk in Italy.

Lorraine Pelletier, a Canadian weightlifter, holds the Canadian record in the women's 70 year age class in the Snatch and Clean and Jerk with a total of 70kg.

So the next time you hear someone say they are too old, smile and remember that you have a long amazing athletic career in front of you if you wish. That's what I do.  Oh, and not that it is a record but I recently hit a personal best dead lift of 171kg (376.2lbs) for a 20kg increase on my personal best and I'm hoping to break 400lbs soon.  Ohhh Yeaaaa!!!!  Ha Ha!!!

Happy Training!

Shellen Thomas

Facbook: shellenthomas  Twitter: @ShellenThomas
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