Photo: Sandy Huffaker for The New York Times September 22, 1915, page A1
In my post of May 14, An Age-Proof Life: Shattering Aging Myths, I wrote about older athletes. To the competitors I mentioned, I’m adding Dan Pellmann to their ranks.
At the recent San Diego Senior Olympics this month, Pellmann, who is 100, broke five world records: 100-meter dash (26.97 sec.—1st centenarian to break 27 sec. ); shot-put (21’ 6¼”—three feet better than the record); discus (48’ 9”); long jump (5’ 10”); high jump (2’ 11½”—1st to clear an official height in the high jump).
Even with the above accomplishments, he was disappointed because he did not break the pole vault world record: “I thought I was in better shape.”
Like others of his generation, the Depression cut short Pellmann’s athletic career when he had to quit his university’s track team to get a job. After his retirement in 1970, his children urged him to enter a masters track meet. He’s at 127 meets and counting.
As I wrote on May 14:
“I want us all to rethink our beliefs surrounding aging and how such thinking affects the quality of our lives. I am not advocating that we all lace up our running shoes tomorrow morning and hit the road for a five-mile run. . . .Think about yourself today, at this moment. Don’t feel the need to compete with your younger self. Be realistic; please don’t try to relive the past. Who truly cares how far you could run or bench press in your 20s? Decide, from this point forward, you’ll make your aging process a fit, healthy, fun, and positive one.”
By the way, who wants to participate in the Senior Olympics when we’re 100?