Sport’s Golden Oldies

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Who says Father Time is undefeated?

62 year old Andrew Hoy just keeps going and going and going, claiming another medal in Tokyo, winning silver and bronze on Monday night.

He became the oldest Australian to claim a medal at the Games and is showing just how to maintain a successful career well beyond what some would consider a retirement date.

It was in 1984 where he made his debut on the world’s biggest stage and has been a mainstay of the Australian team ever since.

Think he’s done?

Brisbane 2032 is not out of the question.

Here’s just a few other athletes that have told Father Time to just wait a minute.

Phil Mickelson

Few punters gave him a chance to win June’s PGA Championship at $201 odds but those that did were given a handy reward for backing lefty in.

It was his first Major win since 2013 and sixth title overall, not bad for a guy long considered the bridesmaid of sport.

He became the oldest Major winner with that victory and is showing no signs of slowing down just yet.

Tom Brady

After six titles and 20 seasons with the New England Patriots, Tom Brady decided to head south to Florida and sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

While 2019 was far from his best season plenty of experts are predicting a bounce back for Brady at age 43 with plenty of talent surrounding him with the Bucs.

In true Brady fashion, he rebounded from a subpar 2019 season in New England by guiding Tampa Bay to a Super Bowl win over Kansas City in February and is already eyeing off number eight in 2021.

Not bad for a guy who runs like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz.

Adam Vinatieri

Admittedly playing kicker in the NFL is a little bit different to being on offence or defence, but Adam Vinatieri just keeps on going.

His career began in 1996 with the New England Patriots where he spent the first nine years of his career before joining the Indianapolis Colts and spent almost a decade and a half wearing the horseshoe.

While he missed 2020 in an attempt to get back to full health, the 48 year old is open to extending his career in the coming season.

Safe to say that even as a kicker, he was critical to the team in every Super Bowl he was a part of, nailing some of the biggest kicks in NFL history.

George Blanda

When George Blanda’s career began in 1949, his $600 salary was pretty lucrative, especially considering he had to fill two jobs on the team, quarterback and kicker.

He first retired in 1958 at age 30 after falling out with the Chicago Bears owner, before joining the new American Football League in 1960 and played for the Houston Oilers.

1967 saw Blanda (aged 40) move to the Oakland Raiders where he lead the league in points and while also serving as the backup quarterback.

His career eventually came to end after the 1975 season, following a defeat in the AFC Championship Game.

Cameron Smith

In AFL-mad Melbourne, Cameron Smith has helped cement the status of the club as one of the NRL’s powerhouse clubs on his way to over 400 games in his career.

He’s still going strong with his 2019 season resulting in a minor premiership and Smith winning the Dally M Captain of the Year and the Dally M Hooker of the Year awards.

He finished on a high note winning the 2020 Grand Final with the Storm and winning the club Player of the Year before officially hanging up the boots before the 2021 season began.

Steve Menzies

We couldn’t leave the Beaver off this list, just about everyone was cheering when he scored a try in the 2008 Grand Final, his final NRL game with Manly.

Of course finishing his career with an NRL title at age 35 after 349 games just wasn’t enough, he then made the move to England, playing another five seasons over there before finally hanging up the boots at age 40.

Such was his impact on Manly and importance to the game, Menzies wound up in the NRL Hall of Fame in 2018.

Brad Thorn

Why do it in just one code when you can do it in two?

Brad Thorn wound up on the right side of the Tasman in both rugby codes, representing Australia in league and the All Blacks in Union.

He started off with the Broncos in 1994 aged 19 and left the club after the 2000 Grand Final to sign with the Crusaders in Super Rugby where he played for the All Blacks in the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

The call of Red Hill was too strong though with him rejoining Brisbane in 2005 at age 30, playing three more seasons with them and winning another NRL title in 2006.

Not done with union though, Thorn continued his career through his 30’s playing for the Crusaders again and was a part of the All Blacks side that won the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

For most that would be enough but for Thorn there was still more to do, he wanted to play to age 40 and he did just that, finishing his professional career in the UK.

At age 41 he came out of retirement again to play for Queensland Country in the NRC and took over as coach of the Queensland Reds in 2017, in all honesty he looks like he could pack down for a few scrums now.

Brent Harvey

You don’t become the AFL’s all time games record holder if you don’t play past your supposed expiry date and Boomer spent 21 years all with the Kangaroos, and played well right to the end.

In 2015 he became the fourth player to play 400 games in VFL/AFL history and broke Michael Tuck’s record the following year.

After North Melbourne opted not to renew his contract after 2016, he opted to retire instead of playing for another team (take note Tom Brady).

Kazuyoshi Miura

When you love the game, you just can’t give it up and for Miura, at an age when some of his compatriots might be thinking about retiring from coaching, he’s still playing.

In fact, he’s the one active Japanese player whose career predates the J-League which kicked off in 1993.

To get his break in football he travelled to Brazil aged just 15 and signed his first professional contract in 1986 at age 19 with Santos (former club of Neymar).

He stayed in Brazil and played for Palmeiras and Coritiba before returning to Japan and winning the final two JSL titles and the first two J-League titles between 1991 and 1994 with Verdy Kawasaki.

Over the next decade he played for Genoa, Dinamo Zagreb Kyoto Purple and Vissel Kobe while wrapping up his international career with Japan in 2000 after 89 appearances.

In 2005, at age 38 he signed for Yokohama FC (where he also was briefly loaned to Sydney FC in 2005) and has put together another phenomenal career there alone, registering 298 appearances and 27 goals.

If you’re still counting… that puts him at age 54 with 672 club appearances and he’s still going!

Martina Navratilova

For over 20 years, Navratilova was a fixture in the final few days of the Grand Slams with Wimbledon a particular favourite of hers, winning nine singles titles there including six straight.

If dominating singles wasn’t enough, she won a plethora of doubles tournaments as well and retired from tennis in 1994 at age 37.

But she wasn’t done just yet, in 2000, at age 44 she came back to play doubles and was a part of the women’s tour for the net six years, finally wrapping her career up with her 41st doubles title.

Vince Carter

It’s hard not to think of a young Vince Carter dominating the 2000 Slam Dunk contest but he had more than a few moments later on in his 22 year career.

It’s going to be very strange watching the NBA without Carter but thankfully he gave us plenty of highlights to go through.

Bartolo Colon

Colon made his way around the MLB during his 22 season career spanning from 1997 to 2018.

He was one of the last remaining players who suited up for the Montreal Expos before they became the Washington Nationals.

While his last MLB action came in 2018, he signed with a club in Mexico for the 2020 season and is still ready to fire in some fastballs.

He wasn’t great as a batter though, this was his first career home run… in year 20 of his career.

Randy Johnson

The lanky lefty loved retiring batters, so much so he did it for 22 seasons.

Starting out with the Expos in the late 80’s he really established himself with the Mariners through the 90’s and Diamondbacks in the early 2000’s.

He played through to age 46 with the San Francisco Giants in 2009 where he collected win number 300 of his career.

They say Johnson’s left arm was lethal in full flight and they were kind of right, just ask this bird.

Ichiro Suzuki

Much like his countryman Miura, Ichiro just kept on playing thanks to his phenomenal durability.

All up his career spanned 28 seasons between the Japanese league and the MLB.

He never won a World Series but was an icon of baseball playing 19 seasons in the US, finishing in 2019 with the Mariners.

Although with skills like this, a few more years and he might have also made it as a viral YouTube star.

Gordie Howe

Aside from baring a striking resemblance to Mrs Krapappel’s pen pal Woodrow Wilson, Gordie Howe had a phenomenal NHL career that included three retirements.

His first career ran from 1946-1971, before joining the WHL in 1973 at age 45 and playing for another seven seasons, eventually working his way back to the NHL with the Hartford Whalers where he retired at age 52.

There was one last stint coming in the minor leagues with the Detroit Vipers in 1997 where he played in one shift at age 69.

Such was his impact on the NHL that he even had an in-game achievement named after him, the Gordie Howe Hat-Trick consisting of a goal, an assist and most importantly, a fight.

Jaromir Jagr

Owner of one of the best mullets in all of sport, Jaromir Jagr was a great scorer in the NHL well into his 40’s.

He began playing in the Czechoslovakian league at age 15 and was drafted into the NHL with the Penguins in 1990, spending 11 seasons with the team.

After rough stints in Washington and New York he went to the KHL in Russia for three seasons in his mid-30’s to presumably finish his career.

Instead, at age 39 in 2011 he came back to the NHL and spent time with the Flyers, Stars, Bruins, Devils, Panthers and Flames before his NHL career ended in 2018 at age 46.

His goal of playing to age 50 is still alive at the moment, currently with his hometown club in the Czech Extraliga in his 31st professional season.

Some say it’s his self confidence that has allowed him to keep playing for so long.

He’s got his own band of travelling fans though, which is quite awesome.

Kelly Slater

After 30 years, it’s more bizarre to see a surfing event without Kelly Slater than with him and he continues to compete as he closes in on his 50th birthday.

He holds a record 11 World Surfing League titles, as well as being the youngest and oldest man to win the title.

While his last overall victory came in 2011, he still is a fixture on the surfing circuit.

Don’t worry about him not having stuff to do, he’s got a clothing line, acting career, band and his own wave pool to keep him busy.

Bernard Lagat

They say running is a young man’s game but you need a little bit of experience as well, especially when covering anything over 400m.

Lagat’s career spanned five Olympic Games and the story of qualifying for Rio 2016 in the 5000m, entering the last lap in sixth place before storming home to win at age 41.

He’s certainly a generous competitor as well, helping out with Eliud Kipchoge’s 1:59 marathon challenge as one of the pacesetters.