Z: I want to party with Olga Kotelko.
She: Who’s that? Some supermodel?
Z: No. She’s one of the best athletes in the world.
She: Then how come I haven’t heard of her? Is she one of those 12-year-old Soviet gymnasts with the body of a 10-year-old?
Z: Close. She’s a 91-year-old track and field athlete. According to an article in The New York Times, she holds 23 world records, and has more than 600 gold medals.
She: And she’s 91. Impressive. But I doubt that’s who you want to party with. You know there are no keggers when you’re in training
Z: But I’m betting she’d have the stamina to party all the way through the early bird special.
She: What’s her event? The 100-meter walker run?
Z: Her time for the 100-meter dash is 23.95 seconds.
She: I could do that. I think. Definitely if I had to pee really badly and I was racing you to the bathroom.
Z: But Olga Kotelko competes at everything. She throws the javelin, the shot put and the hammer; she runs the 100, 200 and 400; and she does the long jump and the high jump.
She: The high jump?
Z: She holds the world record at 2.7 feet.
She: That’s not that high. That’s like getting into my bath.
Z: She’s 91 and she’s throwing herself over a bar onto a foam mat.
She: She’s just showing off.
Z: In master’s athletics, they use “age-graded” tables to try to compare athletes across different age groups. A score of 100 percent would theoretically be a world record. She gets over 100 percent in a number of events.
She: Well if you love her so much, why don’t you marry her?
Z: Why the antipathy for the nonagenarian athlete?
She: She’s raising the bar for the rest of us. If she trains hard for months at a time and competes at a world-class level, what does that say about me when I can’t make it to the gym more than once a weekish?
Z: She didn’t start competing until she was 77.
She: Seriously? She lived it up till she was 77? Now I love her. I want to party with Olga Kotelko, too.
Z: Who wouldn’t?
She: And the bar’s not that high. In fact, I think I’m going to have to one-up her. I’m going to start training hard when I’m only 76.
Z: Way to commit.
She: Why kill myself now?
Z: Of course, the rest of the article was about how physical exercise can help extend your life. And not just any exercise, but serious, make it burn, exhausting exercise.
She: You mean reading People Magazine on the treadmill won’t cut it?
Z: Not if you want to live long enough to become an elite athlete.
She: Now I hate that Olga Kotelko again. She makes the rest of us look bad.
Z: I find her inspiring. I’ve finally got a retirement plan.
She: To win medals in your 90s?
Z: Exactly. And don’t forget you’re two grades older than me so you’ll be 90 long before I am.
She: Yeah, yeah, get off my back. I’ll get the Wii Fit out of the box.
Z: Yes, dear.
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