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?

Bob Hayes, from the book "Tokyo Olympiad 1964_Kyodo News Service"
Bob Hayes, from the book “Tokyo Olympiad 1964_Kyodo News Service”

Yeah, you’re the fastest man in the world. But you’re running in the first lane, the most beat up sodden lane after two weeks of competition, and you can’t find your shoes.

This was the predicament that “Bullet” Bob Hayes found himself in, according to Bob Schul, in his book, “In the Long Run”.

Just in front of me was Bob Hayes, who seemed to be searching for something. “Bob, what are you doing?” I questioned. “Aren’t you supposed to run the next race?”

“Bob, I can’t find my shoes!” he said in a very worried tone.

“Can’t find your shoes! Where did you leave them?”

“Here, right here!” he answered frantically. “Every day I leave them under this bench while I warm up.” Then he stopped and turned to me. “I know where they are! They’re under my bed at the village! I forgot to bring them!” He looked at my spikes and I knew what he was thinking.

“I wear size 10 and a half, Bob,” I said.

“Too big! What am I going to do?” Just then Tom Farrell entered the area. Tom was in the in_the_long_run800 final, which followed the 100 meters. It was apparent what Bob was thinking, and he ran over to Tom and asked what size spikes he word. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but within seconds Bob had Tom’s shoes and was running for the check-in room.

As I waited for the bus outside the stadium I heard the final results of the 100 meters. Bob Hayes had set an Olympic record in winning the gold medal. “Way to go, Bob,” I said out loud.

Bob Hayes set a world record running the 100 meters in 10 seconds flat.

Bob Schul had already won gold in the 5,000 meters, the only American Olympic champion in that event.

Tom Farrell would find glory four years later in 1968, wining bronze in the 800 meter race. He graduated from Archbishop Molloy High School, which is a 5-minute walk from where I grew up in Queens. I spent many a summer day playing stickball in that high school parking lot.

From the book
From the book “The Olympic Century – XVIII Olympiad – Volume 16”

He was the best at the triple jump in the 1960s. He held the Olympic and world records in that discipline. He hopped, skipped and jumped his way to two gold medals, one in Rome in 1960 and the second in Tokyo in 1964.

And yet, there’s not much available in English about Jozef Szmidt, triple jumper extraordinaire from Miechowice, Poland.

In addition to being the first human to ever triple jump over 17 meters, Szmidt held the world record for an incredible 8 years from 1960. At the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Guiseppe Gentile of Italy extended 2.75 inches further than Szmidt’s mark. Gentile held that record for moments before Viktor Sanyeyev of the USSR, Nelson Prudencio of Brazil and then Sanyeyev lept progressively further for record marks.