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SW: Feature Report Channel
Reported February 16, 2010

Olympics: Winning The Gold: 50 Years Later

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- While people all over the world are glued to their TVs watching the winter Olympics, a Georgia woman will be in the crowd in Vancouver, celebrating her own chapter in Olympic history. At the winter Olympics a half a century ago, she took home the gold for her home country of Canada.

In 1960, Canadian skater Barbara Wagner and her partner Bob Paul beat the odds, becoming the first North Americans ever to win gold in the Olympic pairs competition.

"It was stressful," Wagner told Ivanhoe. "It was determination. The judges would come to us and say, 'Uh they'll never be a pair because he's too big and she's too little.' When it was finally over, it was like, it was the culmination of so many years of practice it was like, 'Thank heavens.'"

Now, fifty years later, Wagner teaches young skaters what it takes to win.

"The work, the tenacity, and the compassion, that has to come from within," Wagner explained.

Many, like 9-year-old Alice Qiao, have the same dream Wagner did years ago.

"I want to go to the Olympics some day," Qiao said.

Wagner, a 71-year old grandmother and breast cancer survivor, still skates every day. Her secret to staying so young … keep moving. Women over 60 who exercise for at least 30 minutes three times per week have the heart, lungs, and muscles of a woman ten years younger. Exercise helps maintain your weight as your metabolism slows. This can help you avoid developing diabetes and heart disease. Increased circulation can help your digestive system stay healthy and keep your immune system strong.

"Keep the bones moving," Wagner said. "Keep the body going, otherwise it just rusts."

They're wise words from an Olympic champion who knows what it takes to win -- in competition, and in life.

"I always tease them and say they're gonna pick me up off the ice when I'm gone," Wagner said. "I'll have my skates on."

Women who are well past the age of menopause may be able to increase their bone mass through weight-bearing exercise. One study showed sedentary nursing home residents in their eighties increased the bone mass in their forearm more than a 4 percent when they did mild exercises three times a week for three years. The group who didn't exercise decreased their bone density by 2.5 percent during the same period.

If you would like more information, please contact:

U.S. Figure Skating, http://www.usfsa.org


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