There are many athletes whose ages are somewhat unique. No one is surprised at a 6-year-old gymnast. But what about a three-year-old bodybuilder? Or an eighty-year-old woman weightlifter?
When it comes to power sports, being too young or too old does not seem to go together for us. Most people believe that a child or a senior cannot manage trainings with heavy weights. As we have already pointed out in other articles, that idea is probably very mistaken.
Let’s have a look at a couple examples.
This boy, originally from Romania, started bodybuilding and power gymnastics – now listen well – at the age of two. Photographs of the mini-Herculesmade it round the world.
Giuliano was born in 2004 and soon learned to perfectly control his body. In 2009 he was recorded in the Guinness Book of Records for the fastest ever ten metre (33 feet) hand-walk with a weight ball between his legs. He performed the act on a live Italian TV show (the family lived in Florence then).
In 2010 six-year-old Giuliano broke the world record for 90-degree push ups (push ups without one’s feet touching the ground). He performed 20 push ups with his body in the air and smashed his previous world record of 12 vertical push ups.
Richard Sandrak was born in a small Ukrainian village in 1992. Two years later his family moved for a better life to Pennsylvania in the USA. Pavel Sandrak, Richard’s father, was a Tae Kwon Do world champion and his mother Lena was a professional aerobics competitor.
The boy started intensive training and adhered to tough athletic diet from an early age.
Richard was six when he was bench pressing 82 kg (180 lb) and when he was eight he managed 95 kg (210 lb). He became famous especially through the documentary The World’s Strongest Boy and the Hollywood movieLittle Hercules.
Now 84 years old, this Australian has been victorious over cancer and polio, has had open heart surgery, survived clinical death and trains (and also competes) with a pacemaker. He started bodybuilding after he was age seventy.
How did it all start? Ray was walking one day (he was seventy-five) by the Athletique Health Club gym in Prestone, Australia. Why not give it a try, he thought? He exchanged a few words with the owner who happened to be the former Mr. Universe Graeme Lancefield, who dispelled Ray’s last doubts.
Ray Moon trains for 21/2 hours per day, six days a week and that is just his resistance training. He follows that by covering at least 4 km every day for his cardio workout.
Photos make it clear that at 80 years old Ray is in perfect shape. He has won several national championships for the 70-plus age category.
He also had to combat cancer at the time when he was in active training. He could hardly lift 1 kilo weights in each hand when he was in recovery but he has overcome the disease with his commitment, determination and trust in himself.
Ernestine Shepherd was 56 years old when she and her sister Velvet went shopping for swim suits.Both women had sedentary jobs and never did any kinds of sport. Trying on the swim suits became a quite an embarrassing fashion show.
The sisters decided to change their lives that day and started training. Ernestine stuck to her decision even though Velvet suffered an unexpected tragic death from a brain aneurysm.
Ernestine’s life changed dramatically. She started getting up at 4 am to jog for a respectable 10 miles. She changed her diet. Not only she did not relax her trainings, to the contrary, she started making her living with sport and started working as a personal trainer and professional model.
She started training for bodybuilding competitions at the age of 71 when she asked the former Mr. Universe, Yohnnie Shamburger, to help her prepare for the Natural East Coast Tournament of Champions bodybuilding competition. After seven months of intense preparation Ernestine won the top prize in her category, leaving behind women several decades younger than her.
Ernestine says that as a matter of fact, age is just a figure and you are as old as you feel. Her slogan is “Determined – Dedicated–Disciplined to be Fit”. She lives and works out with passion, eats a reasonable diet, gets enough rest and takes care when exercising. She has not suffered a single injury throughout her training career.
In March 2010 the Guinness Book of World Records awarded the 75-year-old Ernestine with title of World’s Oldest Performing Female Bodybuilder.