The Rio de Janeiro Olympics start exactly a year from today, and the IAAF world track and field championships begin Aug. 22 in Beijing.
But for six older local athletes, the moment is now.
San Diego’s Rita Hanscom, the 2009 world’s best female masters athlete, claimed her first gold medal Wednesday by topping a heptathlon field of 11 women ages 60-64 at the 21st World Masters Athletics Championships in Lyon, France.
Hanscom, 61, scored 5,989 points in the two-day event ending at one of four stadiums being used by 8,000 athletes from more than 90 countries. It was the second-best mark in history — behind her own world age-group record of 6,043.
She set that mark in late June at the USA Track & Field masters national championships in San Antonio, Texas.
A deputy state attorney general, Hanscom ran the 80-meter hurdles in 14.04 seconds, high jumped 4 feet 6, threw the 6.6-pound shot 28-3 on Day 1. On Day 2, she long jumped 13-8 3/4, threw the javelin 82-7 and ran 800 meters in 3:02.48.
In 2014, she won silver in a similar event — the pentathlon — at the world masters indoor championships in Budapest, Hungary.
“It’s hotter than blazes here, and getting hotter for the next few days,” Hanscom said via email. “But walking around the city after the sun goes down is amazing and lovely and everyone is outside enjoying life.”
Hanscom is staying at an apartment nearby the Metro in a working class neighborhood of Lyon, a city of nearly 500,000 about 300 miles southeast of Paris.
Also entered at the World Masters Athletics meet are:
- James Chinn of San Marcos, a world champion sprinter who helps coach at CSU San Marcos and competes in the 55-59 group.
- Clyde “Chip” Crowl of San Diego, a decathlete in the 60-64 group who competed this week. (Results weren’t immediately available.)
- Patricia “Pat” Kelly of San Diego, a sprinter in the 65-69 group set for the 400, who said: “There are some pretty fast runners in my age group. I would love to make the finals.”
- Dick Richards of Encinitas, a sprinter and long jumper who could set records in his 80-84 age group.
- And Graeme Shirley of San Diego, a longtime local track official and middle-distance runner in the 65-69 age group.
Close to 430 Americans are entered at the biennial world masters meet, which has no qualifying standards but is outfitted with official Team USA uniform tops supplied by Nike.
The meet lasts through Aug. 16, ending with 400- and 1,600-meter relays likely to include San Diegans.