>An inspiration: Jeannie Longo at 50

>In 1979 began one of the most remarkable sports careers of all time. That is the year Jeannie Longo established herself as a cyclist to be reckoned with by winning the French road race Championship. She was 21 years old.

Yesterday she won the French national time trial for the eighth time. She is now 50 years old.

Longo in 2009, winning the
French national time trial

Longo’s cycling career is stunning, not merely for her staggering number of wins and top finishes (see below), but also for her tireless longevity. She also has a B.S. in mathematics, an MBA, and a PhD in sports management.

Longo in 1980 winning the French
Road Race Championship

According to her Wikipedia entry, Longo competes both in road and track bicycle racing events, and is an Olympic gold-medalist and twelve-time world champion. Her impressive palmarès include:

  • Olympic Games road race: Gold Medal/Champion (1996); Silver Medal (1992)
  • Olympic Games time trial: Silver Medal (1996); Bronze Medal (2000)
  • 5x UCI Road Race World Championship: Gold Medal/Champion (1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1995)
  • 4x UCI Time Trial World Championship: Gold Medal/Champion (1995, 1996, 1997, 2001)
  • 4x UCI Track World Championship: Points Race: Gold Medal/Champion (1989); 3 km Pursuit: Gold Medal/Champion (1986, 1988, 1989); Silver Medal (1984, 1985, 1987); Bronze Medal (1981, 1982, 1983)
  • UCI Mountain Bike Championship: Silver Medal (1993)
  • 15x French Road Race Champion: 1979 to 1989, 1992, 1995, 2006, 2008
  • 8x French Time Trial Champion: 1995, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2009
  • 3x Tour Cycliste Feminin / Grande Boucle: 1987, 1988, 1989
  • 2x Women’s Challenge: 1991, 1999
  • Set Hour Record (45.094 km/h) in 2000 in Mexico City (14 years after setting the best hour performance record)

Only the great Eddy Merckx comes to mind as having an equally impressive career, but he finished competing when he was 33 years old.

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