Top 15 Oldest Athletes Still Competing in Professional Sports

It is a simple fact of the matter that every athlete is bound to go through an age-related decline that eventually robs them of their physical skills to some degree. For some, a lifetime of devotion to fitness helps to delay these effects, while others experience a rapid unraveling thanks to the impact of Father Time. When an athlete is able to continue to compete at the highest of levels in spite of their age, it is undeniably impressive and is certainly worth appreciating.

In some sports, however, it is easier to hang on despite aging. In basketball, for example, it is very rare for a player to make it past the age of 40 in the NBA. In fact, there is no active NBAer who has reached the age-40 milestone, and those who are still playing into their late-30s were among the game’s greatest players in their primes. There are other sports, of course, where it is much easier to continue to compete well into middle age, as Major League Baseball once saw Satchel Paige throw three scoreless innings in 1966 at the age of 59.

Due to the fact that there is a clear disparity among the longevity that each sport allows, this list will be composed of a sampling of the oldest active players in the four major professional sports in North America so that the oldest NBAers and NFLers are not overlooked in the process. In addition to athletes from those professional sports, one representative each is included from professional boxing, soccer, lacrosse, MMA, golf and the world of Japanese baseball. And while the NFL does have multiple kickers over the age of 40, this list includes the oldest non-kicking starters who are still active in the NFL.

15 Charles Woodson, 38

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

14 Peyton Manning, 38

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

13 Tim Duncan, 39

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

12 Andre Miller, 39

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

11 Kimmo Timonen, 40

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

10 Sergei Gonchar, 41

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

9 Bartolo Colon, 41

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

8 LaTroy Hawkins, 42

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

7 Jaromir Jagr, 43

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

6 Dan Henderson, 44

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

5 John Tavares, 46


4 Kazuyoshi Miura, 48


3 Bernard Hopkins, 50

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

2 Julio Franco, 56


1 Gary Player, 79

Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

At 79 years old, Gary Player is probably in better shape than the majority of people half his age. Famous for his fitness regimen, Player has said he still does 1,000 sit-ups per day except on days he has to travel. Though he is formally retired from professional golf, he still plays in the Annual Masters Par-Three Contest at Augusta National and he participates in the ceremonial tee-off at the Masters alongside fellow golf legends Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. During his time on the PGA Tour, Player won nine major championships, including three at the British Open and three at the Masters. Despite the fact that he is about to turn 80, Player still shoots in the mid-70s on a regular basis.

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Top 15 Oldest Athletes Still Competing in Professional Sports