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What Makes Olga Run?

February 17, 2014
Plain English Version

Olga KotelkoWhat make Olga Kotelko so special? She runs in 200-meter races, participates in high jumps and competes in the hammer throw. What makes that special?  On her next birthday in March she will be 95 years old.

Bruce Grierson met her on a writing assignment. The difference between the shape she was in and his own (he was in his mid-forties) made him wonder what she was doing that made such a big difference.

They decided to work together on a book, “What Makes Olga Run?” The book would look at the mystery that was her condition and what they could learn about her.

Ms. Kotelko did not start working out until she was 77 years of age. The first thing they looked at was genetics. Was she built to live a long life? Nothing about her family history pointed to a long life.

They looked at her diet. It is rich in sauerkraut, red meat, cottage cheese and sour milk. She likes tapioca pudding. She devours nuts. A good 100-year-old friend of hers eats no vegetables at all.

What is left? Exercise. Mr. Grierson writes, Olga does not just exercise, she “moves” all the time. He says, “Olga is older than I am. But 95 percent of the time I am getting older faster than she is.” She is usually walking or standing, but rarely sitting down.

Some of her rules:

  • Keep moving
  • Believe in something
  • Don’t do it if you don’t love it
  • Begin now

He concludes that competing is a way of creating social ties and that social ties help longevity.

Olga Kotelko is looking forward to achieving new records when she enters the next age group, 95 to 99 years.

Source: The New York Times                                                                                                          February 10, 2014














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