Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 | Luis Villarejo’s Thursdays: A medal, at 40

Joaquín’s anniversary serves to illustrate the large number of 40-year-olds and even athletes who enter their 50s in the Olympic Games that start in Tokyo. Spanish athletes like Jesus Garcia Bragado that with 51 years competes in the walk test with the illusion of a kid. Suso is a legend. And upon his return, he will deserve his usual summer time in Toro (Zamora), his land, where the warrior rests.

The list of veterans is endless. Silvia Navarro, goalkeeper of the warriors, leads the Spanish women’s handball with 41; same as Laia Palau with the same age; Alejandro Valverde is also from 1980 and at 41 he goes for everything; without forgetting Pau Gasol, who feeds the power of that generation of the 80’s. Yes, Pau also has 41.

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Then there are the athletes of 81. Guys from another world with 40 years. Like Raúl Entrerríos, one of the greatest in our history. Captain of FC Barcelona and the Spanish handball team, he stretched his gum for another year to be able to be in Tokyo 2020 and say goodbye in a big way after a spectacular career, full of values ​​and dreams achieved.

Karate looks good for Spain. Damián Quintero enters the tatami happy with 37 years just turned. Engineer, one fine day a cover of Men´s Health changed his life. So much so, that his body sculpted in the magazine caused admiration and attracted the attention of sponsorship and marketing. His partner Sandra Sánchez looks at the podium also being a favorite, at 39 years old. Sandra should also come out with the big prize in karate’s debut as an Olympic sport.

A brief brushstroke that illustrates the change in trend, the extension of longevity in the world of elite sports. Turning 30 years before was synonymous with glimpsing the end of a career. The end of a stage in life. But that line has been blown up. From 30 to 40 a solid path still opens, which not only pays dividends, but also offers an interesting return.


The question that arises is: Are these 40-year-olds very good? Obviously yes. Aren’t there young people who break down the door and unseat these myths? Are there so many differences between one and the other? That is another reflection. Or maybe reflection. Sometimes Dr. Antonio Escribano, a doctor and nutritionist of the greats of Spanish sports, tells me about it. The Olympics in Tokyo they will be a test for a handful of young boys and girls who must already look at the Olympic diplomas, to be close to those who win.

Otherwise, we would have a problem. Veterans are true legends. They have given all their effort for Spain, they are all of them, different people from the rest of the citizens. They are different. They are rational, Cartesian. The clock, the ticking accompany them all day like an obsession. His life is millimeter. At the minute. Everything organized. The time to get up early, the time to study, the 8 hours of dedication a day. Competing with pride is your challenge looking for a medal. They are champions because their brain accepts strict rules and internal organization, which later in professional life allows them to be unstoppable.

Genetics, physical preparation, nutrition, sleep better -in height-, mental control, injury prevention. They are arguments that justify this prolongation of the elixir of eternal youth. Silvia Navarro believes in genetics. Escribano ponders functional nutrition. Be clear about the foods that serve the brain, kidney, cartilage or liver.


The forties reach Tokyo to succeed. In shape, and they arrive full because they have taken care of themselves to the extreme. At the end of the Games, I recommend that everyone read ‘When sport leaves you’, Julio García Mera. A beautiful treatise on the day after sports retirement.

Julio, former captain of Spain in futsal and world champion, tells that the sport has three ages: boy, Tarzan and the elephant. Boy, is it the beginner; Tarzan, the leader, king of the jungle, the head of the pack; and the elephant, who walks towards the cemetery of the pachyderms, knowing that it is the end. He who knows where the end is in advance and prepares for goodbye will have a long way to go in the future.

For now, everyone is out to compete for the medals. They are all ambitious. And surely they are clear about the text of Julio for their next destination.

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