This morning the CBC’s Sunday edition interviewed 92 year-old Saskatchewan track star Olga Kotelko – the oldest long jump competitor in the world, holding 23 world records and considered one of the world’s greatest athletes.
Today’s show dealt with aging properties and looked into whether or not Olga had some extraordinary characteristics. She did in a few categories but surprisingly in many ways she is just your average 92 year-old. Olga revealed her secret of healthy eating and exercise as her key to longevity.
Unfortunately the interview did not mention her Ukrainian heritage, unlike her BBC interview earlier this year. Olga was also a torch bearer for the Vancouver Olympics in 2010.
Olga the Magnificent:
Saying Olga Kotelko is aging well is a little like saying Wayne Gretzky was pretty good with the puck.
The track and field star owns 23 world records, has won more than 650 medals.
And she is 92 years old.
She took up track and field when she was 77.
If you go to a Masters World Championship anywhere on the plant, people will know who Olga Kotelko is. Medical scientists took note when they heard about Olga.
Research into aging is a relatively new field of study. Until 20 years ago, most researchers thought turning back the aging clock was impossible. Aging may be inevitable but more and more scientists believe how we age can be changed.
Unlocking the secrets of Olga’s athletic prowess and remarkable longevity could mean future treatments for a host of age-related diseases, including dementia.
Here is John Chipman’s documentary "Olga the Magnficent," follwed by a conversation about the research of aging with two experts in the field.
Judith Campisi is a professor with the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato, California. The Buck Institute is America’s first independent research facility focused solely on understanding the connection between aging and chronic disease. Its mission is to increase the healthy years of life. She was in her office.
Siegried Hekimi is a professor or genetics and aging at McGill. He was in our studio in Toronto.