Ninety-four-year-old Olga Kotelko, a retired schoolteacher from West Vancouver, Canada, could be the poster child for late bloomers. Seventeen years ago, at 77, she entered her first “masters” track and field competition, for participants age 35 and over. At 85, she knocked off nearly 20 world records in a single year. Today, she is the only woman in the world over 90 still long-jumping and high-jumping competitively.
How does Olga continue to compete? Why does she feel, today, practically the same as she felt at 50? Around the continent, more and more researchers are studying so-called “super seniors” like Olga, who appear to be applying brakes to the aging process itself—defying the slide into a foggy decline, remaining sharp and healthy deep into old age.