These Olympic athletes are out to prove that when it comes to the Games, age only means one thing: experience.
The first time Hiroshi Hoketsu participated in the Olympics, in 1964, Lyndon Johnson occupied the Oval Office and The Beatles dominated the Billboard charts. This summer, the septuagenarian will compete with his horse Whisper in dressage, a sport that highlights a horse’s obedience and flexibility. Hoketsu will be the oldest athlete competing in London, and the oldest athlete ever to represent Japan at the Games.
One of only seven Americans in history to compete in six Olympics, Butch Johnson is sometimes three decades older than the competition, but his advanced age won’t stop him from aiming for gold in London. When he’s not donning the red, white, and blue in international tournaments, Johnson manages a shooting range in Connecticut.
After failing to qualify for the last three Olympics, experienced marksman Eric Uptagraftt will compete in the 50m prone rifle contest in London, as one of the oldest members of the USA Shooting squad. (Coincidentally, his wife Sandra will vie for a medal in the Sport Pistol category.) When he’s not competing, Uptagrafft is the rifle instructor for the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, and he has served the U.S. in Kuwait and Afghanistan.
This double-Olympic gold medalist and world record holder will represent Australia in the Olympics for the sixth time this summer. His longevity may be due in part to the efficient way he trains, making practice “not about quantity but more about quality,” he has said.
Sport: Men’s beach volleyball
Since 1997, when Todd Rogers was named AVP Rookie of the Year, the 6’2” setter has racked up the honors. The “God of the Beach” won gold with partner Phil Daulhausser in 2008, and over his 20-year career has tallied 72 wins, the most of any active male player. Age hasn’t slowed Rogers down—the man nicknamed “The Professor,” will make his third Olympics appearance this month.
Country: Great Britain
Soccer legend Ryan Giggs has been playing the game professionally since the age of 14, when he signed with the English Premier League team Manchester United on his birthday. More than two decades later, the powerful midfielder will top off his illustrious career as the captain of the Great Britain soccer team at the London Olympics.