Sunday, July 24, 2011

GoldenGirlGadfly: Vogue Profiles Ida Keeling, setting athletic records at 96 years young

Ida Keeling celebrates with her daughter, Shelley
While flipping through the new August Vogue magazine and noticing their new efforts to be more "current" and "colorful" (ie: fawning articles on Dakota Fanning and her little sister, Elle; cursory inclusion of 1 and 1/2 brown models in editorial), I came across an article that surprised me.  First I was surprised that it was about a brown woman NOT in entertainment or fashion; second, it's subject was Ida Keeling, a 96 year old who has SET THE WORLD RECORD for the 60 meter dash.  No, not the world record in her age bracket (she competes in the 95-99 age category)...the world record in track-and-field for the 60 meter dash, PERIOD.  She trains in her hallway.  Like, the hallway of her apartment building, while being coached by her daughter, Shelley.  Are you amazed yet? Are you ready to fire your mediocre-in-comparison grammie to BEG Ida to dispence advice and bake you cookies? Well...there's more..
Ida was born in Hells Kitichen in 1915, and moved to Harlem with her family right before the stock-market crash.  Her husband died at the early age of 43 in 1959, and by 1982, Ida had lost both of her sons in shootings.  She started running at the age of 67 to alleviate the greif and sadness she felt, and started with a 5k marathon. She loved running because it was the first time "[Ida] felt the depression [had] gone....It was like a health potion..."

Fast forward to this summer, when Ida broke the existing outdoor world record for the 100-meter-dash.  She jokes about living to being 100.  She is, newly, a great-great-grandmother.  She's 4'6", loves eating liver for it's protein, and lived across the street from Althea Gibson for years.  Her daughter Shelley came in 2nd place for a triathlon (400-meter swim, then six miles on a bike, with a two mile run following) earlier this summer.  Shelley is 60.  These are the women I want to be. The seeds of these women I have inside of me already.  And so what if I teared up that Vogue took the damn time to notice?  I most likely won't ever subscribe to it again, but this article DID make me think about re-upping my Vogue...And if that's not a tiny miracle in and of itself, I don't know what is....Thanks Ida.

1 comment:

  1. Ida is what we all should aspire to be in our later years. Imagine being 97 in a nation that is over obsessed with youth. A nation that begins to shy away from women when their young years have ended. A nation whose favorite saying is "old women should hide away." Ida ignored all of these put downs and put herself forward.SHE HAS GREAT COURAGE AND STRENGTH OF WILL.I love her for these qualities. I hold her as a great role all women should try to imitate.Not just in sports but in all endeavors. I bet if she makes the 100 mark she will still be running. What wonderful lady!