85-year-old Body+ star Flo Meiler: Never too late for a new challenge

Senior athletics record breaker Flo Meiler isn't resting on her laurels. The 85-year-old feels great "inspiring other seniors". 

Even in these most uncertain of times, Flo Meiler remains true to one motto.

“Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going.”

The 85-year-old athletics athlete, who stars in the Olympic Channel series Body+, continues to push the limits of what her body can do in hopes of more record setting moments.

“I'm just determined that if I'm going to do a track, I'm going to do the best that I can,” she told Olympic Channel over the phone, “and I want to do some new records.”

For Meiler, who among others owns the U.S. and World records for pole vault in the 75-79 and 80-84 age categories, setting more records means more daily workouts at the nearby South Burlington High School track.

You can watch all episodes of the Body + series here.

That’s where, after a warm up at home that includes everything from stretching to sit ups and leg press, she works on her craft. She admits that she’s lucky as the track remains open.

“It’s only like three or four people there,” Meiler assured. “So we’re very distant.”

In the time of the coronavirus pandemic, her workouts have remained much the same. Gone, however, is her Tuesday and Thursday tennis dates (“There’s no tennis now because everything’s closed”) and she’s utilising her home gym instead of going to her usual gym to continue her weight lifting regime (“That’s really important when you’re doing pole vaulting.”).

But as always she’s more focused on what she can do.

“I'm able to do my running and the long jump pit and the triple jump pit is open, so I'm able to practice that whenever I need to,” she said. “But there are no mats out, so I have to do some pole vault approaches in the in the pit in the sandpits… so I am getting a little bit of practice there.

“It's not quite the same, but it's better than nothing.”

Her work continues with the hope that competitions like U.S. Masters, scheduled for 9-12 July in Greensboro, North Carolina, will be held as planned.

That’s where she’ll get her first chance at new goals, which include matching the 5’5” indoor pole vault record she set in January outdoors and breaking the world record in the steeplechase. (Meiler already owns the U.S. record.)

“That will be very, very difficult,” she said of the steeplechase. “I’m really going to have to work my tail off to get the world record.”

Working her tail off isn’t something she’s a stranger to, and she knows that her story – and hard work – are inspiring people.

“It makes me feel fantastic,” she said of the responses she’s had to her story. “It makes me feel great that I’m inspiring other seniors to keep going and to get active.”

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