re-sized parachutists

Greying skydivers compete in Australia

Following on from my rant about too many people goggling at their computers and TVs you should check this out because you’re never too old to get your adrenaline fix. That’s the message from 60-year-old American Lynn O’Donnell, one of about 200 competitors in this week’s ninth World POPS (Parachutists over Phorty Society!) championships being held at Toogoolawah in southeast Queensland, Australia.They are proving that life does indeed begin at 40.The oldest competitor in the event is Jim Brierley, an 83-year-old who completed his first jump in a more stressful situation – as a soldier in World War II. Last month he completed his 3,000th jump!

If you keep doing what you’ve always done and don’t stop … don’t sit in front of the television and get fat you’re never too old to be a thrill seeker. It doesn’t matter whether you love golf or fishing. It just keeps people alive and motivated. You need goals as you go through life.

Former commercial airline pilot, Ms O’Donnell was forced into retirement last year because of her age but the New Jersey woman is grateful to have more free time to jump out of aircraft rather than fly them.”I’ve been sky diving since 1972 – now I’ve retired I have time to come to events like this,” said Ms O’Donnell, who will explore Australia and New Zealand after the eight day championships end on Saturday.”It’s a wonderful way to meet people. The common bond is that we’re all over 40.”The bones may be more brittle but there’s surprisingly few injuries for the greying skydivers from 17 countries who have converged on Toogoolawah.”We’re not hot-headed young people anymore so we know when to slow down and take it easy if the winds aren’t good,” Ms O’Donnell said.”We’re better at paying attention to aches and pains.”

The disciplines for the competition includes formation skydives, sport accuracy landings and wingsuit flying. So a big shout of respect goes out to those competitors who are proving that there is more to life than the VDU, even when you are over forty!


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