Throughout the course of sports history, there have been many professional athletes who have inspired the masses. It’s one to show athletic greatness at age 25, it takes an entirely different level of commitment to excel in professional sport at age 45 and beyond.
These are 7 incredible athletes who turned back the clock at age 45 and some words of wisdom from each.
The MLB All-Star retired at the Age 49. Julio Franco was a terrific hitter and a solid overall player but what he was best known for was being the oldest regular position player in MLB history.
Favourite Quote – “It won’t be the last home run I hit. I want to hit one when I’m 50. God gave me the great gift to play the game of baseball, and I want to play until I’m 50.” FitAfter45 Take: Julio wasn’t far off “Shoot for the moon even if you miss you will land among the stars.”
Known as “Mr Hockey” was one of the greatest players ever to lace up a pair of skates. At 52 years and 10 days, Howe became the oldest man to play an NHL game where his Whalers lost 4-3 to the Canadiens. He even played on the same team as his two sons Marty and Mark – how cool is that. At his retirement, Howe finished with 801 goals, 1049 assists, and 1850 total points
Favourite Quote “There’s always something in the game you wish you would have done different. That’s why players improve, because they learn from what they did before. They might have been guessing before, but now they know.”
The NBA All-Star is the youngster on this list, playing his last game at 44 years and 224 days of age. He was a 7-foot power forward and centre. Willis is one of fifteen players in NBA history with over 16,000 career points and 11,000 career rebounds. Playing an incredible 23 years in the league.
Favourite Quote – “I’m going out and I’m not taking no crap from nobody. I’m an enforcer, and if somebody challenges me, it’s on.”
NFL Hall of Fame George Blanda retired from pro football in August 1976 as the oldest player to ever play at the age of 48. He was one of only two players to play in four different decades.
Favourite Quote – “In twenty-six years in the pros, I haven’t noticed many changes. The players are faster,bigger, smarter, and more disloyal to their owners, but that’s about it.”
Navratilova’s professional tennis career began in 1975 and lasted until 2006 at the age of 49. That year, a month shy of her 50th birthday, Navratilova won a mixed doubles championship at the US Open, making her the oldest tennis player in history to win a major title.
Favourite Quote – “It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn’t.”
The Old World Champion in Boxing Champion. Hopkins beat Tavoris Cloud to break his own record at the tender age of 48. Hopkins first became a world champion by winning in 1995 and had an extremely impressive career that lasted three decades.
Favourite Quote – “I got knocked down. Anybody could be knocked down, anybody can be knocked out, but it’s not what happened, but what happens next.”
Randy Couture is considered one of greatest mix martial artist of all time.
Couture competed in a record 16 title fights. He holds the record for the most wins in UFC Heavyweight Championship bouts (6). He is the fourth member of the UFC Hall of Fame
the oldest champion in UFC history at the age of 46
Favourite Quote – Learn from your mistakes, make adjustments, and go out and compete again. That’s the mark of championship spirit.