HomeLifestyleSport

6 Senior sports stars who are still winning big

BY Tim Ellis

9th Jan 2024 Sport

4 min read

6 Senior sports stars who are still winning big
Professional sports may be a young man's game according to popular wisdom, but these players are showing no signs of slowing down in their senior years
Youthful darts player Luke Littler has just proven that if you're good enough, you're old enough. That works at both ends of the age spectrum. Some active sports stars are still pushing 60 and beyond.

The miracle of Kazuyoshi Miura

Footballer Kazuyoshi Miura
Miura was the man who took Japan to their first ever World Cup finals in 1998 by scoring 14 goals in the qualifying round.
25 years later, the 56-year-old is the world’s oldest professional footballer.
"'King Kazu' started his career before Lionel Messi was even born and wants to play until he’s 60"
The forward extended his loan stay at Portuguese second-tier side Oliveirense in the summer of 2023, although his number of minutes on the pitch decreased to half his age (28) last season.
"King Kazu" started his career before Lionel Messi was even born and wants to play until he’s 60. If he comes to the UK afterwards, he might want to hop on a free bus between matches.

Phil "The Power" Taylor steps up to the Oche for the last time

Dart player Phil Taylor
He may have started as the late Eric Bristow’s protege, but Phil Taylor soon overtook "The Crafty Cockney" onstage, powering to an incredible 16 world titles. It’s a feat that will surely never be beaten, although Luke Littler might have time on his side.
Taylor reigned at the top for a total of 13 years and was ranked by the BBC as one of Great Britain’s top ten sportsmen in 2015. Even at his last professional World Championships in 2018, the then 57-year-old still managed to make the final.
He has announced that 2024 will be his swan song on the Senior Tour. "The Power" explained: “It’s hard work now at my age. My grandson Matthew doesn’t want me to retire. He wants me to carry on forever.“ If only, Phil.

Jimmy Anderson keeps bowling over his doubters

Cricketers Jimmy Anderson and Chris Silverwood warm-up
English cricket’s premier strike duo was finally broken up this summer when Stuart Broad retired. Broad is a mere stripling at 37 compared to Jimmy Anderson, who turned 41 just before the end of this summer’s Ashes.
While Broad wanted to go out on a star turn against Australia, Anderson is happy to still run up in the heat and dust of India in January.
"In terms of retirement, I’ve got no interest in going any time soon"
“In terms of retirement, I’ve got no interest in going any time soon. I feel like I’ve got a lot more to give,” Anderson said.
Although he only took five wickets against the old enemy, the Burnley Express will be hoping he can add a few more five-fers to his haul of 690.
Glenn McGrath once said: "I didn't have the skill level Jimmy has. When he's swinging that ball, both ways, in control, there's no one better."

Lionel Messi makes magic accessible

Lionel Messi
At 36 years of age, Messi is the maverick of the list in terms of age. Then again, think about the level of achievement he managed at the back end of a stellar 20-year-career.
The Argentinian star led his country from the front to grab the World Cup in Qatar despite being beaten by Saudi Arabia in the first match and throwing away two two-goal leads against the Netherlands in the quarter-final and France in the final.
"Let's leave him alone. Are we already retiring him?"
Messi played all of the games, scoring seven goals and creating three assists. He won the Golden Ball to top it all off.
When asked how the team would cope without him, Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni shot back, “The truth is that he is still active. Let's leave him alone. Are we already retiring him?"
He’s not going to make it to 2026, but there’s still some time to enjoy Leo for the Blue and Whites.

Jason Peters, the fittest forty-something in the NFL

Jason Peters with team at NFL
After Tom Brady retired (again) in 2023, Jason Peters became the oldest active NFL player at 41. Jason Kelce said that the current Seattle Seahawks offensive lineman was “the most impressive physical athlete I’ve ever played with.”
Now in his twentieth season, Peters is a two-time first-team All-Pro and a nine-time Pro Bowl selection, his best years coming with the Philadelphia Eagles. 
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was glowing: “The obvious trait that he shows is that he’s got great feet and his quickness. You would think as you get older, you would lose that, but he has the ability to move and change direction and redirect and stuff that guys that are playing that are young don’t have. Pretty special player.”

Tiger Woods strikes a senior blow at Augusta

Tiger Woods with golf club
In 1986, Jack Nicklaus aka The Golden Bear, won his sixth Masters title at the age of 46 with an incredible back nine of 30 strokes. In 2019, Tiger Woods became the second-oldest winner at 43, claiming his fifth green jacket after an 11-year major drought and a whole heap of controversy off the golf course.
Since suffering career-threatening leg and ankle injuries in a car crash in February 2021, Woods has reduced his schedule hugely but the 48-year-old recently returned to action at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas after ankle fusion surgery.
"In 2019, Tiger Woods became the second-oldest winner at 43"
He insisted, "I can still hit the golf ball.” Too right.
Woods even carded a final-round 61 alongside his 14-year-old son Charlie at the PNC Championship at the end of 2023.
Watch out. This could be the start of a new dynasty.
Credit: KA Sports Photos from Hanover, MD, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter
Loading up next...