In the last 25 years, five Canadians were among the elite group of 12 athletes over 50 who have managed to medal in the Olympics. The Canadian medals have come in equestrian and curling sports where competitors can remain at their athletic peak longer and even improve with age.
Paul Savage was 50 when he won a silver medal with his curling team at the 1998 Olympic Games. Curler Russ Howard turned 50 during the 2006 Olympics and holds the record as the oldest Canadian male to win a gold medal.
Canada’s oldest female Olympic medalist is Eva-Maria Pracht. At the age of 51, she competed with her horse Emirage in the 1988 Summer Olympic Games and won a bronze medal with her Equestrian Dressage team.
Equestrian teammates, Ian Millar, 61-years-old during the 2008 Olympics and Mac Cone, 55 won a silver medal in the team show jumping event.
Ian Millar, who was recently named to the 2012 Canadian Olympic team for a record breaking 10th time, may add to Canada’s impressive list of 50+ medallists. He holds the record for the oldest equestrian medallist and oldest Canadian medallist but he’ll still be seven years short of the record for the oldest Olympic competitor ever. That record is held by Swedish shooter, 72-year-old Oscar Swahn who competed and placed 2nd in the 1920 Olympics.
The oldest competitor at the 2012 Olympics will be 71-year-old Hiroshi Hoketsu from Japan who will compete in the individual dressage event. If either Hoketsu or Millar receives a gold medal, they will beat Swahn’s record of the oldest male to receive a gold medal at age 64.
Returning to the games for a 7th time is 52-year-old Lesley Thompson-Willie who will serve as the coxswain for the women’s eight rowing event. With four Olympic medals under her belt already she could become the first Canadian athlete to win medals in five different Olympic Games. If she wins a medal she will also be the oldest Canadian female to medal in the Olympics.
Canadian Olympic Athletes Age Records
Oldest Canadian Male Olympic Medalist
Ian Millar was 61 when he received a silver medal in Equestrianism at the 2008 Olympics.
Oldest Canadian Male Winter Olympics Medalist
Paul Savage was 50 when he received a silver medal at the 1998 Olympics.
Oldest Canadian Male Olympic Gold Medalist
Russ Howard placed first in Curling at the 2006 Olympics a few days short of his 50th birthday.
Oldest Canadian Female Medalist
Eva-Maria Pracht was 51 when she received a bronze medal in Equestrianism at the 1988 Olympics
Oldest Canadian Female Winter Olympics Medalist
Carolyn Darbyshire-McRory was 46 when she received the silver medal in Curling at the 2010 Olympics
Oldest Canadian Female Olympic Gold Medalist
Linda Thom was 40 when she placed first in Shooting at the 1984 Olympics