SHERWOOD PARK, Alta. – Florence Storch held the javelin high with her right hand and balanced herself with the other by gripping her walker.
After two throws, the 101-year-old athlete called it quits for the day but still took home a silver medal.
“I didn’t put that much energy into it,” the centenarian said Thursday at the Canada 55-Plus Games in Strathcona County, east of Edmonton.
Still, she said, it “felt good” being out on the field.
“Better than sitting in my room doing nothing.”
Storch is the oldest athlete at this year’s seniors games and has held the title, both at the provincial and national levels, the last few years.
She doesn’t remember exactly when but started competing in the sport at least a decade ago. She was helping organize the seniors games in her home town of Hanna, Alta., and signed up for javelin because no one else was on the list.
Over the years, she improved her skills and collected various medals, some of them gold.
And she has continued to practise each year, when the weather’s good, outside the seniors lodge where she lives.
Storch admits she isn’t as athletic as she used to be.
Instead of getting a running jump on her throw, she now stands still. And because she doesn’t see well anymore, someone helps to get her pointed in the right direction.
Although the javelin athletes each got to throw six times Thursday, Storch thought she had done her best in two and needed a rest.
In the end, she was bested by the only other female athlete in the over-85 category, 87-year-old Doreen Erskine of Moose Jaw, Sask., who threw slightly more than 5.24 metres.
Storch’s best throw measured 3.18 metres.
“She had good form, threw her good average throw,” said her 70-year-old son, Ed, a former competitor in the games sprint event.
He was worried about his mother and ready to jump in if she took a tumble during the competition. But there was also a warm spot in his heart, he said, because he was so proud of her.
Storch said she has no plans to retire yet and will keep competing for “as long as a I can.”
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version said the winner threw the javelin slightly more than eight metres.