Olga Kotelko went bonkers in Budapest (nine W95 world records)

In the 2010 movie “Herbstgold,” Italy’s Gabre Gabric is shown being peeved at Lahti worlds. She got beat in the W90 discus by Canada’s Olga Kotelko. But Olga stole the scene by comforting her rival and reminding her that, at 94, Gabre gave away a few years. Gabre got her revenge this week. In 10 events at Budapest worlds, Olga set W95 world indoor or outdoor records in nine. The only record she missed? Gabre’s W95 WR in the discus, set a year after Lahti. But Olga returns home to Vancouver with 10 gold medals out of a potential 12. (She skipped the 400 and 800.) Had she run the longer races, she would have been piling on. None of that for modest Olga. Instead, she merely became the oldest female sprinter indoors (along with oldest lady high jumper, long jumper and triple jumper). Even her coach was awesome. Harold Morioka, a legend in masters track, took fourth in the M70 400 with his 70.63 less than four years after open heart surgery and three months after his SIXTH knee operation. (Another comebacker, American Larry Barnum, won gold in 63.81 in that race.)

Rob Jerome caught Olga in her best triple jump at Budapest. Yet another W95 WR.

Rob Jerome caught Olga in her best triple jump at Budapest. Yet another WR.

Let’s look at Olga’s five days of glory:

On Wednesday, March 26:

Olga did the discus outdoors, throwing the .75-kilo implement 11.17 meters (36-7 3/4) — less than 6 feet behind Gabre’s listed WR of 12.86 (42-2 1/4).

Olga ran the 60 in 16.53 seconds — the first such W95 mark in masters history. On the Age-Graded Tables, her time is equivalent to an open (age 20-30) mark of 6.73 seconds. (The real WR is 6.92 by Russia’s Irina Privalova.)

Olga high-jumped 0.78 meters (2-6 3/4), another W95 indoor first. On the AGT, her mark is worth 2.15 meters (7-0 1.2). (The real WR is 2.08, or 6-9 3/4, by Sweden’s Kajsa Bergqvist.)

On Thursday, March 27:

Olga long-jumped 1.57 meters (5-1 3/4), another record for oldest woman indoors. On the AGT, her mark is worth 6.94 meters (22-9 1/4). The real WR is 7.37 (24-2 1/4). Olga was pacing herself, I guess.

Olga put the 2-kilo shot 4.73 meters (15-6 1/4) to beat the listed indoor WR of 3.75 (12-3 1/2) by American Betty Jarvis in 2011. But Olga was short of the outdoor best of 5.32 (17-5 1/2) by her old friend Gabre Gabric, a 1936 and 1948 Olympian, by the way.

On Friday, March 28:

Olga crushed Ruth Frith’s listed outdoor WR in the 2-kilo hammer, going 14.76 meters (48-5 1/4) to Ruth’s 11.37 (37-3 3/4). On the AGT, Olga’s mark is worth 97.78, or 320-9 (and an age-graded percentage of 127%) The real WR is the puny 79.42 (260-7) by Germany’s Betty Heidler.

Olga ran the 200 in 1:14.14, making her the oldest female long sprinter indoors. On the AGT, her time is worth 23.27, where the real WR is 21.87 by Merlene Ottey.

On Saturday, March 29:

Olga threw the 400-gram javelin 11.24 meters (36-10 1/2) to demolish Ruth’s listed outdoor WR of 9.03 (29-7 1/2) set in 2006. On the AGT, Olga’s mark is worth 78.86 (258-9). The real WR is 72.28 (237-2) by Czech Barbara Spotakova, who wants to be Olga when she grows up.

Olga triple-jumped 3.68 (12-0 3/4), completing the jump trifecta. On the AGT, her mark is worth 16.30 (53-5 3/4), where the real indoor WR is 15.36 (50-4 3/4) by Russia’s Tatyana Lebedeva. Rob Jerome reports: “On her first jump, she set the W95 WR at 323 cm, then broke it to jump 347 cm, then broke it again with a 355 cm jump and finally settled on 368 cm as her final WR in the W95 TJ.” (So technically, she set four WRs in that event alone. Poor officials.)

And on Sunday, March 30:

Olga threw the 4-kilo weight 6.97 (22-10 1/2), adding 6 feet to the listed WR of 5.10 (16-8 3/3) by Betty Jarvis in 2011. Her AGT equivalent? Merely 38.01 (124-8), with a monster age-graded percentage of 161% IAAF doesn’t list a WR, but the American weight record is 25.56 (83-10) by Brittany Riley, who should now just hang it up.

And then Olga rested.

Budapest was a hotbed of world records in many other events and several relays. Athletics Weekly reported mainly the British ones. I’m hoping someone at WMA compiles a list of all recent WRs soon, since these folks deserve recognition.

And I’d like to see a medal chart for Americans. We kicked butt in Budapest.

And Olga? She’s not done yet. Pole vaulting is on her bucket list.

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March 31, 2014

7 Responses

  1. tb - March 31, 2014

    The twelve-foot triple jump is the one that amazes me. 95 years old?!

  2. Barry Warmerdam - March 31, 2014

    Olga is the bomb!

  3. Tom Phillips - April 1, 2014

    Here’s my photos of a lovely moment from the end of the final day of the World Indoors, when the oldest man in the competitions, 97 years young Guiseppe Ottaviani of Italy, presented Olga with flowers. http://t.co/96qnV7Ppdf

  4. Rob Jerome - April 1, 2014

    In the two events I photographed…HJ and TJ…Olga could have just jumped once, set a record, and called it a day. But in true athletic spirit, she jumped again…and again…and again…bettering the records she had already set. At 95!

    If she isn’t named IAAF Female Masters Athlete of the Year, there’s no justice.

    Olga’s accomplishments reverberate beyond the world of athletics. She shatters stereotypes about aging, and that’s good for all of us.

  5. Ken Stone - April 1, 2014

    And Olga isn’t done yet! Outdoors awaits and maybe another dozen records. She may have 20 by year’s end. I wanna see her posing with Usain Bolt at IAAF Gala!

  6. Tom Phillips - April 1, 2014

    I second Rob’s comment. He and I watched Olga set four WRs in successive high jumps in Budapest,

  7. Roxanne Davies - April 2, 2014

    Olga has written a wonderful book called Olga the OK Way to a Healthy Happy Life. It will be published in April and ready for sale by May. In this 300 page book Olga the teacher shares lessons she has learned from her long and healthy life and assigns homework. Don’t miss it!

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