Stories of Amazing Accomplishments by Older People

As we get older, conventional wisdom says our best years are behind us, right? But that’s not necessarily the case! As another famous saying goes, “Age is just a number.” We’ve got some incredible examples of that here, with the following folks racking up amazing accomplishments well into their twilight years — including a 97-year-old Nobel Prize winner and a centenarian skier.

1. Diana Nyad

When it comes to tough marathon swims, the Cuba-to-Florida crossing has to be near the top of the list. Not only does it span more than 100 miles, but the balmy conditions also attract dangerous sea creatures such as box jellyfish and sharks.

Up until 2013, no one had ever completed the swim outside a protective cage. So Diana Nyad made a significant bit of history when she successfully crossed the stretch of water without one at the age of 64.

“Never too old to chase your dreams”

What makes the accomplishment even more amazing is that Nyad had attempted the swim before, back when she was in her late 20s. Then, she tried it four more times after turning 60, ahead of finally completing the task in under 53 hours at the start of September 2013.

Afterward, the swimmer said, “I got three messages. One is we should never, ever give up. Two is [you’re] never too old to chase your dreams. Three is it looks like a solitary sport, but it’s a team.”

2. Wang Deshun

While the vast majority of men are retired by the age of 60 in China, Wang Deshun had no interest in slowing down. He made his debut on a fashion runway at 79 years young, showcasing his incredible physique. It’s easy to understand why he was dubbed “China’s hottest grandpa!”

Deshun told The New York Times, “One way to tell if you’re old or not is to ask yourself, ‘Do you dare try something you’ve never done before?’ Nature determines age, but you determine your state of mind.”

“My exercise time”

With a background in art and acting, Deshun was already a talented individual before becoming a model. The daily routine he followed to stay in shape — mentally and physically — is sure to inspire many entering their twilight years.

Deshun revealed, “Morning is my learning time. I read books and [the] news. From 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. is my exercise time, in a gym near my home. I am not picky at all about what I eat. I eat whatever I want.”