“Let the Games Begin Again”: 74 Year-Old Olympian Competes in National Track Competition

“Let the Games Begin Again”: 74 Year-Old Olympian Competes in National Track Competition

7:00am Jul 18, 2014
Athletes ages 30-95 are competing in the USA National Masters Track Championship in Winston-Salem. This year's event at Wake Forest University includes more than 40 reigning world masters track and field champions and at least six Olympians.
Anissa Morgan

The USA Masters Outdoor Track Championship is in full swing at Wake Forest University.

Over 1,100 athletes from the Triad and around the world ages 30 to 95 are competing during the four day event at Kentner Stadium. The event features the 100 and 200 meter dash, high jump and short and long hurdles.

Ed Burke, 74, from California is a three time Olympian and was a USA flag-bearer at the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984. He is competing in five events in Winston-Salem. He currently holds the world record for the hammer throw in his age division. He says competing is in his blood.

"When they call your name, no matter how far you throw or don’t throw, your heart jumps in your throat, it’s just like you were young and competing in the Olympics again. It doesn’t matter if it’s a masters meet or not.  So that’s a great throw," said Burke.

Burke’s wife Shirley Burke is his biggest fan. She said the meet is about more than just winning, it’s also proving that lifetime fitness is possible. “I would say it’s the quest. Because we have been married for 53 years and all these years for Ed it’s the quest. It isn’t so much in these masters meets whether he gets the gold or not, though he quite often does, it isn’t about beating other people, it’s about beating his record."

The USA National Masters Outdoor Track Championships at Wake Forest University will run through Sunday. The event is free for the public. The meet is one of two national track events hosted by Winston-Salem in the coming year. The 2015 USATF Masters Indoor Championships will be held in March at JDL Fast Track off Stratford Road. 

*Anissa Morgan is an intern at WFDD and a freshman at UNCG.

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