On the team since 1999, Egypt’s Essam El-Hadary won four Africa Cups & played 159 times for his country. At age 45 he started for Egypt against Saudi Arabia during this year’s World Cup, breaking the record held by Columbia’s Faryd Mondrago, another goalkeeper who played in the 2014 World Cup at 43.
He played Egypt’s final group game in Russia, saving a penalty in the Pharaohs’ 2-1 defeat by Saudi Arabia.
“After 22 years, four months and 12 days, I saw it as the best moment to hang up my gloves,” said El-Hadary.
“I am very proud to have played with the national team in 159 internationals, participating in unprecedented achievements.”
Now in my early thirties I look 15 years ahead & can’t imagine playing any sport at a pro level, not even curling or bar darts, and not even after I quit smoking. Last week I rode a Citi-Bike for 20 minutes & felt like I’d just finished the Tour De France. Wondering if 45 was an abnormally high age for most other athletic ventures, I went Googlin’ & found a gent who blew this out of the water by several decades:
Just this year Hershel McGriff became the oldest racer to compete in a NASCAR-sanctioned event, competing in the K&N Pro Series West event at Tucson (Arizona) Speedway on Saturday at age 90.
And if that wasn’t enough, he also kicked off the event by playing the national anthem on his trombone.
I don’t personally know Hershel McGriff, but playing the trombone before your own NASCAR race at age 90 absolutely sounds like the kind of move a Hershel McGriff would make. This kind of stuff almost makes me want to check in on my dusty, old gym membership that I think I’m still paying for.