Top 10 Sporting Veterans
Phil Taylor claimed his 14th World Matchplay title at the age of 52 last weekend and got us here at FREEbets.org.uk thinking about the greatest veterans in sporting history. Here are 10 of the best that we can find in the annals of time.
The Power has dominated the world of darts for the last 20 years and despite now approaching his 53rd birthday he shows no signs of slowing down. He claimed his 16th world title at the start of the year and has followed this up by reclaiming his UK Open crown and winning the World Matchplay for a 14th time. There is no doubt Taylor is still the best player on the planet and he could continue to be for some time.
It is not uncommon for a player to win the Snooker World Championship in his 30s but it is a very rare site indeed for someone to lift the famous trophy at the Crucible in their 40s. However, Ray Reardon managed this five times in his career that saw him win six world title in total. The last came in 1978 when at 45 years old the man known a Dracula beat Perrie Mans in the final, no one that old has won it since.
The Wizard of the dribble became the oldest player ever to pull on an England shirt in 1957 when he played in a 4-1 win over Denmark at the age of 42. This also made his England career the longest of all time at 22 years and 228 days. His playing days weren’t over there though as he was still playing for Stoke as he turned 50.
One of the all-time greats of golf having got his hands on eight major trophies, he proved he can still keep up with the youngsters of today in 2009 when he came within a whisker of winning a sixth Open Championship. He was 60-years-old at the time and lead for most of the tournament before losing in a play-off to Stewart Cink, 26 years after he last won a major.
The Executioner was one of the greatest boxers on the planet in the 1990s, he was a very good fighter throughout the 2000s and against all odds he is still a world champion into the third decade of an incredible career. When Hopkins beat Tavoris in March this year for the IBF light-heavyweight title he became the oldest world champion in history at the age of 48.
The great Yorkshireman was born in 1877 but amazingly he played the last of his 58 tests for England in the West Indies in 1930 at the ripe old age of 52, a record that still stands as the oldest test cricketer of all time. In his last season at this incredible age he took 73 wickets at an average of 19.10.
Arguably the greatest women’s tennis player of all time Navratilova showed incredible longevity over her immense career which saw her win at her first Grand Slam in the mixed doubles of the French Open in 1974 and winning her final one in the same event at the US Open in 2006 at 49-years-old. Her 59 Grand Slam titles across those 32 years is one of the most impressive achievements you will find in sport.
The oldest strongman in history, Beckles competed in international weightlifting events for nigh-on three decades. He first showed off his muscles at Mr Britain in 1965, first winning an event in the same competition in 1970. His last win came in 1991 at the Niagara Falls Pro Invitational where he out-did his opponents at the age of 61.
When it comes to records in the NFL George Blanda is the man to start with because he holds an awful lot of them. The one we are most interested in is that he is the oldest player to play in an NFL game when he turned out at 48 years and 109 days old. He also played the most seasons (26), is one of only four men to play in four different decades and was the first player to score over 2,000 points. A thoroughly impressive career.
The Swedish shooter became the oldest gold medallist in the Olympics when he claimed the top prize at 64 years and 280 days old in the 1912 games. He then broke the record for anyone competing in the games when he returned for the 1920 games at the age of 72 years, 281 days but he couldn’t repeat his previous success. He would have further extended his record after qualifying for the 1924 games but he had to pull out due to injury.