You’re never too old to do the things you love. It doesn’t matter if you love to paint, sing or play football, age should be nothing but a number if it’s something that you are truly passionate about.
With today’s youth-obsessed culture, the icons and celebrities are getting younger and younger, especially in the world of sport. However, there are a number of sports personalities who played well into their fifties and beyond, even long past their official ‘retirement’. It’s no coincidence that the players who continue to perform into their older years are the same players who are considered to be the greatest in their sport. Here are five of greatest, as compiled for us by Jamie Gibbs of over 50s life insurance specialists Confused.com.
Jack Nicklaus – Golf
If it wasn’t for Tiger Woods blazing a trail and making the headlines these days, Jack Nichlaus would rightfully own the title of ‘greatest golfer of all time’. Nicklaus became a professional golfer in 1962 and went on to win eighteen major championships, with his last major win at the age of 46. Nicklaus managed to score an extra eight wins after he passed the big five-oh at the Seniors Championship (now called the Champions Tour). Nicklaus played his final hole at the US Masters Tournament in 2005, aged 65.
Steve “Interesting” Davis – Snooker
A six-time World Champion and the first snooker player to become a millionaire, Steve Davis is considered to be one of the top players in the sport, second only to Stephen Hendry. Davis spent his youth touring working men’s clubs before turning pro in 1978, and throughout the 1980s won the majority of his games. He is one of only three people to have held the title of World Champion, UK Champion and Masters Champion at the same time. Davis’ star began to wane in the mid-90s, but what is heart-warming to see is that he hit his second wind after he reached 50, defeating the odds to score a victory against the 2010 World Champion John Higgins.
Stanley Matthews – Football
These days, it is uncommon for a professional footballer to still be active on the pitch after the age of 40, but Stanley Matthews was determined to say the least. He is the only footballer to have been given a knighthood while still playing, and he holds the record for the oldest player to represent England in football. Matthews played at the top competitive level until he was 50, but even that didn’t stop him. His final match against Brazil in 1985 saw Matthews on the pitch at 70 years old. It’s no small wonder he’s considered to be England’s greatest footballer.
WG Grace – Cricket
Grace is an unusual one on this list because he is the only one to have not taken the sport to a professional level. Grace was a qualified and practicing physician, which meant that he spent his entire career in the amateur cricket circle. Still, it has been said that Grace earned more money as an amateur than any professional cricketer at the time, and he is considered to be one of the greatest players of the game, even a century after his death. WG Grace played well into his sixth decade, with his final match in 1914 and his career stopped only because of the First World War.
Hulk Hogan – Professional wrestling
We can debate about the validity of professional wrestling as a legitimate sport until the cows come home, but there’s no denying that the majority of the global success of pro wrestling is down the career of Hulk Hogan. A lifelong wrestling fan, Hogan joined the circuit in the late 70s and quickly became the most recognised athlete that pro wrestling had ever seen. Owing to wrestling’s blend of sport and theatre, Hogan was one of the first to go into acting, paving the way for the likes of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s movie success. Hogan is still in good shape today, and is still knee dropping and pile driving his opponents at the age of 58.
Who’s your favourite over-50s athlete? Share your thoughts below!