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Silver hair and gold medals

Silver hair and gold medals

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Olympic gymnasts often give up the quest for gold before they hit 20.

Pro footballers pack up their cleats in their thirties.

A few baseball players keep throwing knuckleballs past 40.

Wimps, one and all.

Australian Dorothy “Dot” de Low is 100 years old and still competes in world ping pong tournaments. She doesn’t move so fast, but once she’s out of her wheelchair and standing at the table — look out!

Dot is one of eight octogenarians profiled in “Ping Pong,” a documentary on over-80 table tennis players from around the world preparing for the “Over 80 World Table Tennis Championships” in Inner Mongolia.

When tournament time comes, they pack their inhalers, wave to their friends at their retirement homes and head out to chase glory.

Death get thee behind us, we’re not done yet.

"It’s not how hard you hit it, but where you place it,” says one lady paddler, with a suggestive twinkle.

Thousands of Asian onlookers pack the arena to cheer for the athletes as they strut their stuff. Their bodies are frail, but their reflexes lightning quick.

One man, in the semifinals, stops after every point to catch his breath. One sassy American-born player delights in smashing balls beyond the reach of less mobile opponents, such as centenarians like Dot.

“This old girl? I should get her. She can’t move,” she says, with an unapologetic smirk.

Need an elixir to usher you safely into old age?

Pick up a paddle and whack some balls across the net.

The Helena Table Tennis club would love to invite you to their weekly games at the Broadwater Athletic Club. Call Frank Kromkowski at 443-0843. Paddles and training provided.

Everyone under 110 years young is welcome.


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