Geezers

Extremely Athletic and Incredibly Old (For Athletes) (Photos)

At age 64, Diana Nyad set a record for being the first person to swim 110 miles from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. See photos of other extreme—and old—athletes.

It took about 53 hours of intense swimming, but Diana Nyad became the first person to swim the 110 miles from Havana to the coast of Key West, Florida, on Monday without a shark cage. It was her fifth try, and when she came ashore, she had some inspirational words for the spectators who had gathered. "I have three messages. One is, we should never ever give up. Two is, you're never too old to chase your dream. Three is, it looks like a solitary sport, but it is a team," she said. As Nyad proved, extreme sports aren't just for the youthful. From mountain climbing to running marathons to water-skiing, check out the other older athletes who are shattering records.

Andrew Innerarity/Reuters

Diana Nyad

Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad became the first person to swim the 110 miles from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. It took more than two days for her to make the journey from Havana to the Florida coast. This wasn't Nyad’s first attempt. She tried three times in 2011 and 2012, and once in 1978. Nyad stopped from time to time to eat, but she never left the water. A team of doctors traveling with her became concerned about her breathing, but didn't intervene until she got to shore, where she was given an IV.



Niranjan Shrestha/AP

Yuichiro Miura

Japanese climber Yuichiro Miura, 80, is the oldest person to have scaled Mount Everest. He set the record in May 2013 when he climbed the 29,035-foot peak. It was the third time for Miura, a former extreme skier who snatched the record from Min Bahadur Sherchan of Nepal. Sherchan held the record for five years until Miura's latest climb.


Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty

Fauja Singh

Fauja Singh, the second from the right, was in his 80s when he took up running marathons because he felt "more dead than alive" after his wife died. He ran his personal best of 5 hours 40 minutes during the 2003 Toronto Waterfront Marathon when he was 92. At age 102, he's still going strong. In January 2013, he took part in the Mumbai Marathon.


Elaine Thompson/AP

Sister Madonna Buder

Sister Madonna Buder is in her mid-80s, but her nickname is the Iron Nun. She holds the record for being the oldest person to finish an Ironman triathlon. But really, it's her longevity that's impressive. Buder has participated in dozens of marathons, at least 35 Ironmans, and hundreds of other races.



Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty

Ernestine Shepherd

Ernestine Shepherd is in her mid-70s, but gets up every morning at 4 a.m. to lift weights, run, and do other exercises. She's a personal trainer who also just happens to hold the title of oldest performing female bodybuilder from Guinness World Records. She runs up to 80 miles a week when she's training for a marathon. Her coach? None other than former Mr. Universe Yohnnie Shambourger.



Bhaskar Paul/The India Today Group/Getty

B.K.S. Iyengar

He's in his 90s, but he can bend his body any which way he wants to. Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar has been doing yoga since 1934, even founding his own style of practice known as Iyengar yoga.