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Finding Inspiration: The Best Over-50 Athletes in the World

Jun 4, 2012, 8:43 a.m.

Senior athletes fall into two primary groups. Those that were great when competing and who have kept themselves in super shape since they retired. And, those who are still competing (small group) after blowing out 50 candles on their birthday cakes without causing serious fires. Both groups of older athletes, however, should give the over 50 group inspiration to get (or stay) in shape.

You will be noticed. You will feel better. You will be an inspiration to yourself and other older athletes. Except for the occasional "tweaked" muscle, ligament or tendon, there is NO downside. Be sure to know the difference between pain and injury. Laugh at pain; medically treat injuries.

Those senior athletes over-50 who have retired from competition, but remain in great shape include the following. Greg Norman, "The Shark," with 87 professional golf victories enjoys his 50-something life, stays in shape and competes occasionally on the Champions Tour.

With 9 Olympic gold medals, Mark Spitz did not stop working out after election to the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1977. Although now in his late 50s, he just missed qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Swimming team at age 41. Everyone but swimming superstar Michael Phelps still risks embarrassment racing against Mark in their local pool.

Joe Montana, called "Bird Legs" by his former teammates, does not rest on his laurels (4 Super Bowls, 3 Super Bowl MVPs, and 8 Pro Bowl selections). He stays in great shape while watching his son play Division 1 college football.

Holding the best won/loss record in tennis history, Chris Evert , not only stays in shape, but still manages her tennis academy in Boca Raton, FL. Even superior over-50 male tennis players can still be "taken to the woodshed" by Chrissy.

Earning 167 career titles, Martina Navratilova keeps herself in great shape. Although she was just "voted off the island" in Dancing With the Stars, Martina provides inspiration for any senior athletes who want to stay in great shape.

A few superior world-class older athletes continue to compete as they pass the magic 50 mark. Butch Johnson, a five-time Olympian turns 57 this year. However, he remains in contention to make his sixth Olympic Archery Team this year. Butch is an inspiration to all older athletes.

Any best senior athletes list would be incomplete without including the soon-to-be 50-year old Jamie Moyer. He made the Colorado Rockies roster as a starting pitcher this spring. Along with keeping himself in great shape to compete in Major League Baseball in 2012, he and his wife remain legends in Seattle for their charitable efforts, raising millions of dollars for kids and other important causes.

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