At age 102, Everett Hosack’s competitive juices are still flowing
FORT MYERS – All eyes focused on him. They shouted, “Go for it, Everett! You can make it!” The crowds leapt to their feet and clapped, cheering him on to victory. After he won the gold medal, people came up to him and congratulated his accomplishment. “That gentleman is an inspiration to me,” remarked one woman.
This is not a normal reception for an athlete who finishes fifth in a race with five competitors. But at 102, Shell Point resident Everett Hosack is not your average athlete.
|Everett Hosack, age 102, won 3 gold medals at a recent track meet.|
“I attended the University of Florida and ran the high and low hurdles for their track team,” says Everett. The year was 1923. “It was the first year they actually had competition with other colleges. There wasn’t anyone who could beat me.”
Later Everett ran on a track team sponsored by his employer, New York Central Railroad. But when the Depression came, competition fell by the wayside.
Fast forward 50 years. Catching the athletic bug again – “I didn’t really start competing until I was 80,” says Everett – he began to compete in track meets throughout the U.S. and Europe. He participated in most track and field events – his favorite being the hammer throw – and set world records in 14 separate events. He soon became a celebrity through his achievements, being featured on the front page of the London Times sports section and appearing on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Last month’s meet was the Spring Fling Track & Field Meet at the USA Triathlon National Training Center in Clermont, Florida. At his first event, the discus, his final distance was 5.92 meters. Then came the shotput. He heaved the 8-pound cast-iron sphere 2.55 meters to win the gold.
Everett hadn’t planned to run the 100-meter dash; after all, he had already set the world record for the event before 51,000 fans at the 2002 Penn Relays. However, he agreed to give this final event a try. Word had spread among the crowd that the 102-year-old would be competing against men in their 20s, so there was quite an audience for his heat. As the gun sounded, the four other men took off and finished the race in under 15 seconds, while Everett walked briskly toward the finish line with the crowd cheering him on. His final time was 1:22.28.
“While good health and a degree of athleticism are important factors in Everett’s accomplishment, I personally admire his willingness at 102 to undertake the trip in the first place,” said Doug Worthington, who accompanied Everett to the meet. “He could easily sit in his room and be proud of his advanced age. He still has a spirit of adventure and risk-taking that compels him to go on a two-day trip, meet new people, and compete in athletic events. Everett Hosack is remarkable for his adventuresome spirit, as well as his advanced age and athleticism.”
As the best (and only) competitor in the 100+ age group, Everett finished the meet with three gold medals. Interestingly, a 101-year-old athlete who was also slated to compete that day didn’t show up. Said Everett, “That guy probably would have won… he had youth on his side.”