Proving Age is Just a Number: Top Athletes Achieving Peak Performance in Their Advanced Years


Andres Ambühl, Roger Federer or Nino Schurter: They all prove that top-class sport is still possible even at an advanced age.

As in May, Andres Ambühl curved around the slippery surface at the Ice Hockey World Championships this year. And that at the age of 39. While it used to be the bon mot that top-class sport was over at the age of 30, this year more and more athletes are proving that top performance is still possible at a relatively old age.

Roger Federer is also such an example. At the age of 37, the Basel native won the Australian Open. Or mountain biker Nino Schurter, who won his tenth world championship title at the age of 36.

Training is crucial

In general, it’s more a question of how than if. Adrian Rothenbühler, coach educator at the Federal Office of Sport, says the main reason is that things are different when it comes to training. While training used to be as hard and as much as possible, it is now said to be as clever as possible.

“Clever training also means having regeneration and health management under control. Greater importance is attached to the recovery of the nervous system,” says Rothenbühler. It’s not so much the scope that matters, but the intensity.

With experience to top performance

In addition to cleverness, monitoring is often part of a modern training structure. Data can be used to estimate which training sessions make the most sense for the athlete.

But in addition to training optimization and all the technological developments, there is another factor that is crucial: experience. “Andres Ambühl has a bulging backpack of experience from his career,” says Rothenbühler. And when the athlete takes those things out of the backpack that worked well, there is almost nothing standing in the way of a long career.

2023-06-06 09:55:21

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