Sochi Games: Old players give youngsters competition

Feb 21, 2014, 09:41 IST | AFP

Meet some of the 30 and 40-somethings who are giving youngsters a run for their money in Sochi

Sochi: They’re the 30-somethings and even 40-somethings who refuse to bow out gracefully — the grizzled veterans of the Sochi Olympics who won’t give in to gilded youth.

And they’re not just here to admire the mountain scenery, winning medals of every colour across a range of physically punishing disciplines against their younger rivals.

Fine feat
US skier Bode Miller, 36, shared bronze in the super-G, a feat matched by 37-year-old Dutch speed skater Bob de Jong in the 10,000m while Russia’s Albert Demchenko, 42, has two silvers in Sochi in the men’s luge.

And then there’s 40-year-old Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, who ripped up the record books on Wednesday, becoming the most successful Winter Olympian in history with 13 medals, including eight golds.

When asked about joining alpine greats Hermann Maier and Kjetil Andre Aamodt as multiple medallists in super-G, Miller said: “It means I’m old.”

Finnish ice hockey veteran Teemu Selanne, who scored in his team’s quarter-final victory over the hosts on Wednesday, is back in Russia 25 years after he first competed in the country — still holding his own in the rough and tumble sport.

The NHL veteran made his Olympic debut in Albertville in 1992 and has now competed at six Olympic Games.

“I’m 43, and I play on the same line as guys who are 19 and 20-something,” he said. “It’s a good thing. Obviously they’re just numbers. Mentally, I think we are the same age.

Proud passion
“Obviously I’m very proud that I’ve been able to play for so many years, and the passion for the game is the biggest reason I can still play. Of course it’s not getting any easier at this age. But I’m still trying to play my best level and help the team.”

And for Bjoerndalen, age appears to be just a number. Was it was a factor in his fourth-placed finish in last week’s 12.5km pursuit?

Apparently not. “When I won gold two days ago my age wasn’t a problem,” he said. — AFP

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