money1In 1964, there were rumors of athletes getting cash for wearing a certain company’s shoes. And the athletes from the US would also express disbelief at the financial support the athletes from the USSR received. But on the whole, only amateurs were allowed at the Olympic Games.

At the IAAF World Championships, now taking place in Beijing, tens of thousands of dollars are at stake. According to this article from the blog, Around the Rings, gold medalists take home $60,000, while those for silver and bronze receive payments of $30,000 and $20,000 respectively. An athlete who finishes as low as eighth picks up $4,000 for his or her efforts.

There are also financial rewards for team competitors.

Nick SymmondsSeems like a decent chunk of change to run around on a track. But only a handful of world-class athletes make the big bucks. Nick Symmonds won’t even be in Beijing as he is protesting the demands of the USA Track and Field organization that requires him, he feels to put

An ad for the Prince Gloria, from the magazine
An ad for the Prince Gloria, from the magazine “Olympic Tokyo Taikai Tokushuu No. 2_Tokyo Shimbun”

My uncle in Tochigi told me that he had a car and its name was Gloria. I had just arrived in Tokyo and my Japanese wasn’t very good, so I couldn’t tell if he actually named his car. As it turned out, he was the proud owner of a Nissan Gloria.

This full-page ad was selling the Gloria, although it was manufactured at the time by a company called Prince Automobile Manufacturers. In 1959, this company presented to Crown Prince Akihito a Prince Gloria in commemoration of his recent wedding to Princess Michiko. This company would go onto become the official vehicle supplier to the Imperial Household Agency.

The car in the ad was the Grand Gloria S44P, which was launched in May, 1964, prior to the Tokyo Olympics. In addition to including electric power windows, it had a large enough engine (2.5 liters) to make the Grand Gloria the first vehicle manufactured in Japan to not be classified as a compact sedan.

The ad states that this car transported athletes, officials and members of the press during the torch relay leading to the opening of the Tokyo Olympics.

In 1966, Prince merged with Nissan Motors, adding Prince’s Skyline and Gloria brands to their range of vehicles.

Flo Meiler in the Masters; Angela Jimenez, New York Times
Flo Meiler in the Masters; Angela Jimenez, New York Times

“You see?” Meiler said. “It’s never too late. I’m 81 years old, and look what I did. I didn’t sit in my rocking chair and say, ‘I got a pain here and a pain there, and I can’t do anything.’ I get out there, and I work out the pain.”

Flo Meiler, according to this New York Times photo essay, broke the world record in the heptathlon for women aged 80-84. She was competing in Lyon, France at the World Masters’ Athletic Championships that just ended, a regularly held international competition that brings together people of 35 years and older whose love for competition has not diminished with age.

The world is graying – we all know that. People are living longer, and with fewer babies being born in the industrialized nations, the percentage of people 60 years and older is accelerating.

This post celebrates the idea that no matter your age, if you burn with competition, you burn forever. As these pictures by photographer, Angele Jimenez show, these athletes go all out.

Do you?