Teaching Old Dogs New Championships



Golfer Phil Mickelson recently won the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Championship at 50 years old.

Throughout the history of sports, it’s been thought that once you reach a certain age, you can’t compete at a high level anymore. And oftentimes you would be forced to retire. That age was thought of to be around the late 30’s and the athletes that really pushed it would retire around 40. But recently that idea has been challenged, not only are athletes not always retiring before 40 anymore, they are still able to compete at a high level and win championships.

In sports like golf, age hasn’t seemed to be as much as a factor, Jack Nicklaus won the Masters at 46, in 1986. Tiger Woods won the 2019 Masters at 43, and most recently Phil Mickelson won this past year’s PGA Championship, at the age of 50. And in other sports, Tom Brady won the Super Bowl this past year at the age of 43. Major League Baseball players Bartolo Colon and Ichiro Suziki both played until they were 45 years old. Tennis players Serena Williams and Roger Federer are still going strong at age 39 and basketball player Vince Carter played until age 43.

But it comes back down to one thing what has changed to allow athletes to compete longer. Robert Geitz, a trainer at the Saugatuck Rowing Club said that Science and Technology have played a big role. “Science is able to show us how quickly our bodies can recover based on things like our blood-oxygen levels, rest, and nutrition. While technology has also been able to assist in recovery with different types of machines to monitor an athlete’s vitals so trainers, doctors, and nutritionists can tell an athlete what needs to be done on their off time to let the body recover faster. Technology also allows us to record athletes during specific movements and then correct any muscle imbalances to help prevent future injuries.” Geitz said. He also said that training your muscles is a technique to prevent injury that a lot of athletes are starting to adapt to, such as hot yoga, which is yoga done in a 90-degree room.

In conclusion, athletes have had to stop playing at a certain age, but with advancements in science and technology, they can play longer. Many athletes already have. In the future, possibly more athletes could compete at an older age the way science and technology are taking us. But even the way it is right now, we get to enjoy our favorite athletes a little bit longer than we would have.