Keeping the silent sports community informed and self propelled.
Two silver streaked upper Midwesterners demonstrate how to stay extraordinarily active at their ages.
George Hovland, 85, of Duluth, Minn., may have skied his 33rd American Birkebeiner last Saturday a bit too close to the edge, however. The owner of the Snowflake Nordic Center was reportedly experiencing atrial fibrillation for much of the eight hours and 25 minutes it took him to complete the 54K classic course.
Prior to the event, Hovland's cardiologist judged him fit to ski the Birkie. And at the aid station at Highway OO, roughly the halfway point of the race, the tired octogenarian called his wife and was told "George, you committed to this thing. Don't quit," he recalled. And he didn't.
Hovland was the oldest skier in the race and was listed in the results as second to 80-year-old John Chapman of Eagan, Minn., in the "80 and over" age group.
Another marvel of active advanced age is 96-year-old Fred Matthias, who is still practicing law in Newton, Iowa. He walks and bikes (including frequent rides of up to 14 miles) several hours a day, according to this profile that appeared Monday in the Newton Daily News.
Matthias has led an eventful life in the military, culminating with an intelligence post at the Pentagon, working as a criminal defense attorney and raising four children with his wife, Rosetta.
He and Rosetta cross-country skied, biked, golfed, played tennis and sailed together, according to the article. She died in 2000, but he maintained the active life they started together.
"When I see other people give in to aches and pains, I feel sorry, and I urge them to push against those pains,” Matthias told the newspaper. “I don’t think people should slack down because they’re 80 or 75. They should just keep going. And if they haven’t been going up to that time, it’s high time they start.”