80-year-old Cyclist Proves it is Never too Late to Go for Glory

Published 08/30/2023, 3:54 PM EDT

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Sports may largely be a young person’s game. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities for surprises now and then. True, most athletes reach their prime during their youth. However, that doesn’t mean those past their prime have missed the chance to be among the greats. Everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame at different points in time. While Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Tom Brady have performed excellently and boasted impressive stats even in the twilight of their respective careers, there are others who have reached their peak much later than these two veteran athletes.

This is certainly the case for 80-year-old James Macdonald, who recently became a cycling world champion after winning the 80-84 age group at the UCI World Championship in a 53-mile race in Perth.

How Macdonald Started Cycling


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The former US Navy Captain took up cycling after his retirement in 1994 before hooking up with Brent Henry; a silver medalist in the 1984 Olympics. Macdonald said he enjoyed the race and having his family cheer him on from the sidelines. Macdonald had qualified for the finals by winning the 80-84 age group event in Jacksonville, Alabama.


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With his sights already set up on the future, Macdonald says he hopes to participate next year in the world championships in Denmark. In fact, he claims he would like to cycle competitively for the next ten years. Still, ever the realist, Macdonald claims this year was his best shot at winning because he will probably face younger competition if he competes next year.


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Like many, Macdonald enjoyed cycling as a child. However, he claims he never had the opportunity to pursue it until he retired.

The Story of Macdonald

In 2007, the Macdonalds moved into the Port Anne neighborhood in Williamsburg to live closer to their children, James explains. Macdonald had retired after his last Navy assignment was with the Naval ROTC unit at Marquette University in Milwaukee. After moving into Williamsburg, Macdonald began competing more seriously while his wife, Sherry, decided to go back to teaching. In fact, they remained in Wisconsin up until her retirement.


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Besides the UCI World Championships, Macdonald has participated in several other Williamsburg-area National Senior Games in Pittsburgh in July. The group has won 18 medals, with Macdonald bagging a gold and three silver.


Written by:

Kenneth Soares


One take at a time

Kenneth Soares is a WWE writer EssentiallySports with a penchant for all things sports. He has previously worked in world news, with a focus on US events and geopolitical stories. Kenneth's favorite superstars include Edge, Rey Mysterio and AEW star MJF.
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