Five Sports Stars Who Refused to Let Age get in the Way

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Chicago Bulls. Michael Jordan 1997

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American goalkeeper Kasey Keller will retire this month at the end of the current MLS season at the ripe old age of 41. The Seattle Sounders stopper and former Leicester City and Tottenham player has already been honoured in bizarre fashion with a corn maze tribute at a Seattle farm and is one of a select band of top performers to extend his sporting career into his 40s. We look at five more athletes who refused to let the sands of time stop them in their tracks.

Stanley Matthews

Stanley Matthews was admired as one of the greatest players to grace the game of football, but he also raised the bar when it comes to competing well beyond the usual age limits, having incredibly played his last competitive game at the age of 70. He also played at the highest level of English football until he was 50, becoming the oldest to play in the top tier of the English league in the process and went on to become the oldest player to represent England when he played for the national team against Denmark at the grand old age of 52.

Brad Friedel

Brad Friedel’s family didn’t need to worry about 40th birthday ideas when he hit the milestone age in May. The veteran ‘keeper was gifted a lucrative two-year contract with Premier League side Tottenham Hotspurs, after turning down shorter term offers from former club Aston Villa among others. The USA international continues the theme of evergreen American goalkeepers and will be nudging 42 when his current contract expires. Don’t bet against him continuing beyond that either.

Michael Jordan

Not content with becoming one of the most famous sportsmen of all time, basketball icon Michael Jordan kept everyone guessing by retiring not once, not twice, but three times. His first retirement in 1993 shocked the basketball world when he announced he was quitting the game at the age of 30 after bagging three straight N.B.A. titles with the Chicago Bulls. A rather underwhelming career in the baseball minor leagues followed before he returned to basketball and the Bulls in 1995. His second retirement came in 1999 at the respectable age of 35, but he refused to leave it there and returned to professional play with the Washington Wizards in 2001, going on to become the first 40-year-old to hit 43 points in an N.B.A. game shortly before he retired for (probably) the final time in 2003.

John Whittemore

Leaving all the others trailing, Californian sportsman Whittemore was hailed as the world’s oldest athlete when he threw the javelin and discus at a Masters Track competition in 2004 at the almost unbelievable age of 104, just six weeks before turning 105. He sadly passed away just six months later but not without securing his place in sporting folklore.

Martina Navratilova

The Czech-born, American based tennis star wrote herself into the record books with 167 career titles, including becoming the oldest ever Grand Slam winner by picking up the mixed doubles titles at Wimbledon and the Australian open aged 46. She continued to add milestones becoming the oldest player to win a professional singles match by winning her opening round at Wimbledon a year later and finished in style by beating her own record and winning the mixed doubles title at the US Open in 2006 aged 49. Sadly she was narrowly pipped to winning ITV series I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out if Here in 2008 by squeaky-voiced Eastender Joe Swash.
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This article has been created by Activity Superstore, the UK’s leading Gift Experience Days supplier.

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