What makes
Olga run
at 95?
positions Olga played
upon taking up
softball at 70
track & field
events Olga has
competed in
world records Olga
has held in her age
gold medals
Olga has won
In his forties and a new
father, award-winning Vancouver author Bruce
Grierson perceived a shift in mind and body.
I felt I was suddenly aging,” he says. But something
changed his perspective. “I met Olga.”
Olga Kotelko is a 95-year-old track-and-field athlete. Five
years ago, Bruce’s wife showed him an article about her in
the community newspaper. Olga happened to live just 10
minutes away.
Intrigued, Bruce learned about her amazing regimen and records. How Olga took up
track at 77, and has set standards for her age group ever since. How she’s constantly
on the move, from her thrice-weekly aquafit sessions to her bowling league. Mostly,
Bruce was taken by her infectious get-it-done outlook.
So he wrote about Olga. First for
Reader’s Digest.
Then for a 2010
New York Times
profile, which took over a year. Still, there was more to tell about Olga’s
strengths, strategies and the science of aging. In 2014, Random House published
Bruce’s book
What Makes Olga Run? The Mystery of the 90-Something Track Star
and What She Can Teach Us About Living Longer, Happier Lives.
Bruce, now51, knows her story can inspire and intimidate. Not everyone can compete
like Olga, yet anyone can follow her example. Whether being physically, mentally or
socially active, Olga’s lesson is about always embracing new challenges.
What Olga has,” says Bruce, “is a sense of purpose.”
That’s about attitude not genes. How often do people feel limitations because they,
or others, put them there? “Olga won’t accept that,” Bruce says. “Her idea is no
limits. People are capable of improving at any age.”
photo: patrik giardino for the new york times
below: nick procaylo for the vancouver sun