Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ageism: The Olympic Surprise

Is it me or haven't I noticed it before? The 2012 Olympians look older to me.  Here in the United States we have an issue called "Ageism." That is, we are known to discriminate and categorize individuals by their chronological age. We have 30 year olds celebrating their birthday in black as though their youth has ended.  We see someone with gray hair and disengage.  We think that anyone born before 1980 can't hand anything technological. 



Well, the Olympics are an interesting cross-section of humanity. Yes, there are those nymphs who are known as the gymnasts. I think it would interest you to know the average age of those women volleyball players--(wait for it)--- 29! 


 I  also was amazed at our own 31 year old pole vaulter Jennifer Suhr who leapt 4.75 meters to win a gold medal.  I watched a 41 year old male gymnastic literally blow the socks off his younger counter parts. Let's not forget the 57 year old  U.S. woman shooter Kim Rhodes who won gold. So, I used my trusty google search engine and looked up the average age of this summer's participants. 

It really surprised me! The average age is 26. There are 187 participants over 40, one is a 71 year old dressage rider from Japan. Two 65 year old women participating are a Latvian shooter and a Canadian jumper.  A 52 year old female rower, Canadian Lesley Thompson-Willie won silver in the women's eight. Britain's equestrian Nick Skelton won a gold medal at age 54 this Olympics.






Now, in all fairness, I haven't gone back and checked the average age of the participants of the previous Olympics.  I don't know if as my life continues I become acutely aware of ageism, or it is just that the Summer Olympics has so many events that it offers so much more to so many. If they ever offer a yoga event, watch for me. 

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