For many Olympians, their passion for sport doesn’t subside simply because they decide to retire.
The Masters Games provides a valuable pathway for many Olympians to remain active in and connected to their sport and its community. Our events give them an opportunity to repeat those Olympic sensations in an environment focused on fun and friendship.
Today on Olympic Day, here are 5 Olympians still pursuing their sporting passion at the Masters Games.
Dual Olympian Anthony Mosse swam at the 1984 and 1988 Summer Olympic Games. In his professional retirement, he was named an ambassador for the 2017 Auckland World Masters Games.
Having spent some time at the 2016 Rio Olympics promoting the event to fellow Olympians, he returned to competitive swimming as an athlete in Auckland.
Other Olympian ambassadors associated with the 2017 Auckland Games include softball player Jenny Holiday, triathlete Hamish Carter and runner Lord Sebastian Coe. Lord Coe was named the Goodwill Ambassador for the Games.
Ski Jumping is a family affair for Olympic gold medallist, Martin Koch.
Following in the footsteps of his father and uncle, his talent took him to his first Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002. He returned to the Olympics again in 2006, but this time took gold. He added a Winter World Masters Games gold medal to his list of accolades in Innsbruck earlier this year.
We caught up with Koch in Innsbruck where he explained how the Masters Games had shown him a new side to his sport.
“I’ve been an athlete pretty much all my life. It is tough. You don’t make so many friends – it’s just high-level competition. Here everything is a little bit easier and more enjoyable. You meet athletes from all over the world. Everyone is having fun.”
“You have a fight at the hill, but it’s not about Olympic medals. It’s about being proud of yourself, having fun, pushing athletes and watching other athletes. It’s for family.”
New Zealand born sprinter and long jumper, Chantal Brunner, is a double Olympian and a WOA Executive Board member. In 2017, Brunner made her first Masters Games appearance on home soil at the Auckland World Masters Games.
In an interview with Olympians.org, Brunner had high praise for the event. She saw it as an avenue for Olympians to gain a new and inspiring outlet following professional retirement.
“With so many athletes from around the world coming together to take part in this fun and compelling event, it’s reminiscent of my time competing as an Olympian at Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000.”
“I love having the option of extending my career in this way as it enables me to maintain a connection to the sport that I love in a world-class setting”, she said. “It also provides a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and fellow Olympians and share our experiences from past Games as well as what we have been up to since.”
Turkish Olympian, Vedat Erbay, shot an impressive qualification round that saw him named number one seed in the men’s 50+ Archery event at the 2019 European Masters Games.
Erbay went onto claim gold in Torino with an unparalleled performance.
Other Olympic archers that competed in Torino included 1976 and 1980 Irish Olympian James Conroy, Nathalie Dielen of Switzerland and Spanish team gold medallist Juan Carlos Holgado and Marie-Claire van Stevens.
Two-time Olympic Archer Ken Uprichard completed a clean sweep at the 2017 World Masters Games.
His experience in the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympic Games proved invaluable as he took gold in the men’s 30-39 IFAA field, and World Archery outdoor, indoor and field events in Auckland.
In an interview with World Archery, the four-time WMG gold medallist described the 2017 Games as a great experience.
“The medals were just a bonus. It’s great competing at home as the family is near and we don’t have to travel far.”
While many Olympians turn to the Masters Games post professional retirement, there are plenty of elite Masters athletes still performing at the highest level.
Uzbekistan’s Oksana Chusovitina was readying herself for her eighth Olympics Games in Tokyo until the event was postponed. The 44-year-old gymnast’s record-breaking survival in a sport dominated by teen prodigies is a continued source of inspiration for athletes of all ages.
Equally, Krista DuChene and Lyndsay Tessier’s inspiring performances in Doha and Berlin last year put to rest any doubts that marathoners of a certain age can perform well on the world stage.
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