90-year-old torch bearer not slowing down
Published Thursday, February 11, 2010 7:34AM PST
Ninety-year-old Olga Kotelko is more active than people half her age.
In 2009 alone, the former school teacher broke 30 Canadian and world records in running and throwing events track and field events in the 90-plus age division.
Originally from Saskatchewan, the now West Vancouver, B.C., resident will run with the Olympic torch near along Marine Drive near her home Wednesday night.
She says carrying the flame represents inspiration, dedication, perseverance, hope and community spirit – values she hopes to inspire other seniors and "fellow competitors of all ages."
"Just standing and waiting for the torch to come toward me, I might cry," she told CTV News.
"It will be great. It will be so spectacular."
The seventh of 11 children growing up on a farm outside of Saskatoon, the road to world-class athletic competition has been a long one. A longtime softball player, the grandmother took up track and field at age 77.
More than 600 medals later, she shows no signs of slowing down.
"I'm not old. I don't know what old is," she said.
Like a fine wine, she insists she's actually getting better with age.
"Frankly, I don't know what's going on with me, why I am throwing the javelin farther now than I did five years ago."
Kotelko knows she's a role model. She regularly speaks to other seniors about staying in shape and it is this message she wants to take with her on Wednesday's torch run.
"To me, this flame is a shining symbol saluting good health and well being," she wrote.
"Through sport and exercise, I try to promote the importance of maintaining a healthy body, mind and spirit."
Kotelko says everyone – no matter what their age – should get moving and feel better.
She quotes an ancient proverb to describe the attitude she feels is the key to success:
"It's not how old we are but how we get old."
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Leah Hendry