One of football's greats, Wales and Manchester United player Sir Ryan Giggs, turned 40 on Friday, and has no immediate plans to retire from the game.
One of football's greats, Wales and Manchester United player Sir Ryan Giggs, turned 40 on Friday, and has no immediate plans to retire from the game. Here is a look at some other sports persons who enjoyed exceptionally long careers before deciding to hang up their boots:
Buddy Helms: Stock car racing pioneer Buddy Helms retired at the age of 87 in 2003, just two weeks after he was honoured as the oldest NASCAR driver in a special parade lap at the Homestead-Miami Speedway before the "Ford 400" Winston Cup season finale. He is known for having entered a 1946 Hudson Super Six into the first NASCAR sanctioned race in 1949.
Satchel Paige: American baseball pitcher Leroy Robert “Satchel” Paige was the oldest player to debut in Major League Baseball at the age of 42. Prior to this, Paige was already a baseball star, one of the most famous and successful players from the Negro Leagues. He retired at the age of 59.
Robert Jaworski: Basketball player Robert Jaworski, originally from the Philippines, gained fame while playing for the University of the East's Red Warriors as an import. Known as “The Big J” and “The Living Legend” during his career, he was inducted into the PBA 25 Greatest players of all time and PBA Hall of fame- class of 2005. He retired at the age of 52.
Nancy Lieberman: Nicknamed "Lady Magic", Lieberman is regarded as one of the greatest female basketball players. She bagged a gold and a silver medal in 1979 at the World Championships and the Pan American Games, and retired at the age of 50.
Wilfred Rhodes: Cricket player Rhodes became the first Englishman to complete the double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in Test matches. Right from his debut, he established a reputation as one of the best slow bowlers in the world. Later, on developing his batting skills, he also became the leading batsman for England. His eyesight started to fail him in 1939 and he went completely blind by 1952. He retired at the age of 52.
Jeannie Longo: A 59-time French cycling champion and 13-time world champion, Longo was still actively cycling as of 2011. Famous for her competitive nature, Longo won the French road race Championship at the age of 21. From then on, she has won a whopping 28 overall medals in international competitions.
Sir Stanley Matthews: Football player Sir Stanley played his final competitive game at the age of 70 in 1985. He has also achieved many other milestones. He was the first footballer to be knighted while he was still alive. He was the oldest player ever to play in England's top football division, as well as the oldest player ever to represent the country.
Jerry Barber: American golfer Barber turned professional in 1942. He was one of the top putters of his era. At the age of 45, he was the oldest player at the time to win a major title, and he retired at the age of 77 in 1994.
Martina Navratilova: Czech American tennis player Martina Navratilova is considered the greatest singles, doubles and mixed doubles player who has ever lived. With 13 Grand Slam singles title and 31 doubles titles, she reached the Grand Slam finals for nine consecutive years from 1982 through 1990. She retired from professional tennis at the age of 49.
Karch Kiraly: Player, coach and broadcast announcer, Karch is considered the best volleyball player the United States has ever produced. He was honoured as the greatest volleyball player of the 20th Century by the FIVB, volleyball's highest governing body. In 1992, he was inducted into the UCLA Hall of Fame and his jersey was retired. He retired at the age of 46 in 2007.