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Five on Friday: 5 of the oldest record setters

In CNA's regular look at what hit the headlines during the week, Five on Friday wheels out some extraordinary people who are breaking records in their field and age group.

Five on Friday: 5 of the oldest record setters

Paul McCartney performs at Glastonbury Festival in Worthy Farm, Somerset, England on Jun 25, 2022. (Photo: AP/Invision/Joel C Ryan)

SINGAPORE: Last weekend saw the triumphant return of the Glastonbury festival in England, headlined by the living music legend Paul McCartney.

Dazzling the Glastonbury crowd for nearly three hours, the octogenarian became the oldest person to headline the festival, a day after its youngest - Billie Eilish - performed on the staggering Pyramid stage.

The former Beatle proved that greatness isn't just a young man's game. So here are five other people who have reached the pinnacle of their profession, despite their age.


This image released by Sony Pictures Classics shows Anthony Hopkins in a scene from The Father. (Photo: AP/Sean Gleason/Sony Pictures Classics)

Almost three decades separate Anthony Hopkins' two Academy Awards.

After his chilling portrayal of Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs in 1991, who would have expected it would take another 29 years for Hopkins' next Oscar?

Hopkins became the oldest actor or actress to win the award at the age of 83, edging out Christopher Plummer’s supporting actor win at age 82 in the 2010 film Beginners.

In the 2020 film The Father, he plays a man fighting a losing battle against dementia.

The movie pulls out every trick in the book to make you feel the utter disorientation and bewilderment of the condition: The non-linear storytelling, smart cinematography tricks and constantly changing set leave you as much in the know as Hopkins' character is.

While most of us can never completely empathise with those who have dementia, we could do with being more understanding, which is why this film is an essential watch.


With his long, white beard and bushy moustache, marksman Oscar Swahn retains the title - the oldest ever competing Olympian.

The 60-year-old Swede took home double gold at the 1908 London Olympic Games in the single shot running deer event and team event. 

The running deer, which made its debut at the same Games, involved one shot per run made at a moving deer-shaped target about 100m away.

Swahn went on to set more records at the Games.

At age 64, Swahn claimed victory in the 1912 single shot team event, making him the oldest gold medallist in the Games - a feat yet to be beaten.

At the 1920 Olympic Games, he secured another spot in history as the oldest ever competing Olympian and oldest medallist (silver) at age 72.

Overall, Swahn competed in three Olympic games from 1908 to 1920 (the 1916 edition was called off because of World War I).


    While the oldest player in history to play in a World Cup match is goalkeeper Egyptian Essam El Hadary at 45 years of age, Dino Zoff is the oldest person to lift the prestigious trophy.

    The then 40-year-old Zoff, also a goalkeeper (seemingly a common trend among the more senior players in the competition), captained an Italy side that beat West Germany 3-1 at the 1982 World Cup final in Spain.

    He also holds the record for most consecutive appearances in Serie A, at a staggering 332.

    Remarkably, the only player bucking the trend of goalkeepers in the top five oldest World Cup players is Cameroonian striker Roger Milla.

    Milla set a record for being the oldest goal-scorer in World Cup history, at age 42, by scoring four goals in 1990, then broke it four years later by scoring against Russia in the United States.


    Staying with football, 60-year-old Robert Carmona is the oldest professional footballer in the world, starting his playing career in 1976.

    For years, it was thought that the oldest active footballer was Japan's Kazuyoshi Miura, but "King Kazu" has been dethroned by Carmona, who still takes the pitch in Uruguay.

    Carmona's remarkable career was unearthed after he started sending documents that proved his career to the publishers of the Guinness Book of Records. 

    It took four years for him to gain official recognition for his career - spanning 45 years, 30 clubs and almost 2,200 games played - according to Spanish sports outlet Marca.

    "When they ask me about (retiring), it annoys me a bit ... I say, what would I retire for?" Carmona told Marca.

    "I became the oldest active player in the world and I'll keep going. I feel like a 25-year-old. Retirement isn't on my mind."


    Japanese adventurer Yuichiro Miura in 2013. (Photo: AFP/TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA)

    And we end our list with an adventurer who defies nature - Yuichiro Miura.

    Miura became the oldest climber to summit Mount Everest at 70 in 2003. And as if that was not enough, he broke his own record at 80.

    The alpinist had overcame heart problems, including two surgeries for cardiac arrhythmia, and an extensive surgery to repair a broken pelvis to conquer the world's tallest peak again in 2013. 

    The Japanese also spoke of his desire to climb Everest again at the age of 90, a record which should be attempted in the near future.

    Source: CNA/nh(ta)