At age 92, Olga Kotelko still competes in track meets around the world


At age 92, Olga Kotelko still competes in track meets around the world

July 18, 2011

VANCOUVER — Hard core athletes usually retire when they get "up there" in their sporting years, usually in their late 30s or early 40s.

Not so for Olga Kotelko. The West Vancouver track and field star is in her 90s and believes she can compete forever.

"If I was jumping at 89, why can't I jump at 90?" asked the 92-year-old, who competes in the 90-94 category at track-and-field meets. "So when I started jumping, I created all of the world records."

At 90 years of age, Kotelko earned the world records in her limited age group for high jump, long jump, triple jump, 100-metre dash, 200-metre, 400-metre, shot put, discus, javelin, hammer throw and weight throw.

Despite these achievements, the devout Ukrainian Catholic and retired teacher remains modest. "Records are made to be broken, and I have broken some of them already," Kotelko said.

She began competing in track and field after retiring from her co-ed slow-pitch team when she was 75.

Now Kotelko trains regularly, attending aquafit classes three times per week as well as regularly practising her sprints, jumps and throws at a high school field near her home. This regimen often comes after hours working in the garden.

A parishioner at St. Mary's Ukrainian Catholic Church in Vancouver, Kotelko says her faith is something else keeping her going.

"Before competition, there's a lot of meditation, a lot of prayers," she said. "I thank God, because he has given me the strength, capability, and knowledge to do different events and do so well. I thank God for all of that."

"I'm sure I'm blessed," she added. "I thank God every night in my prayers for helping me through my day."

Kotelko recently competed in the annual Pacific Invitational 2011 B.C. Masters Championship in Langley. She took part in discus, javelin, long jump and weight throw on the Saturday and triple jump and 100-metre dash.