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Golden Oldies

Oldest Army
The oldest-established military unit in the world is the 80–90 strong Pontifical Swiss Guard in Vatican City. The unit was officially founded on January 21, 1506, by pope Julius II, but its origins stretch back much earlier. The guards' uniforms are said to have been designed by Michelangelo.

 

Oldest Current Head Of State
The oldest current head of state is Kiro Gligorov, President of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. He was born on May 3, 1917, and was elected president on January 27, 1991.

Oldest Female Astronaut
The oldest woman in space to have been in space Shannon Lucid (USA), who was aged 53 years when she boarded the space-shuttle mission STS 76 Atlantis in March, 1996. She is also the first and only woman to have made five spaceflights.

Oldest Person To Become Prime Minister
Morarji Ranchhodji Desai (1896–1995) was 81 when he was appointed prime minister of India, in March, 1977. He served as prime minister until 1979, when his ruling coalition fell apart.

 

Oldest BASE Jumper
“Ready… Head up… GO!” With these words, 74-year-old James Talbot Guyer launched himself off the 148-m (486-ft) high Perrine Bridge near Twin Falls, Idaho – and into the Guinness World Records book as the oldest man to BASE jump from a man-made structure. “It was wonderful,” said Guyer, originally from Hendersonville, North Carolina, USA. “I got to do a 360-degree turn after the chute opened and everything!”

BASE – which stands for "building, antenna, span [bridge], earth [cliff]" – refers to the stationary surfaces from which daredevils such as Guyer throw themselves before parachuting safely to earth. The “sport” was first devised in 1980 by Norwegian Carl Boenish, and since then at least 39 people have died. The buzz comes from both breaking the law – most BASE jumps are illegal – and the narrow window of time between jumping, opening the parachute, and landing.

The Perrine Bridge, where Guyer made his record-breaking BASE jump, is one of the few places where this extreme sport is legal. “I really hope what I did inspired some 75-year-old guys to come here!” said the sprightly Guyer.

Oldest Town
The settlement of Dolní Vêstonice, Czech Republic, has been dated to the prehistoric Gravettian culture of around 27,000 BC - at which point Europe was in the grip of the Ice Age.

 
Oldest Baseball Player
Leroy Robert "Satchel" Paige pitched for the Kansas City A's (American League) at the age of 59 years and 80 days on September 25, 1965. His baseball career spanned 40 years although he was as famous for his showmanship on the field as he was for his pitching.

Oldest Female Astronaut
The oldest woman in space to have been in space Shannon Lucid (USA), who was aged 53 years when she boarded the space-shuttle mission STS 76 Atlantis in March, 1996. She is also the first and only woman to have made five spaceflights.

Oldest Male Astronaut
The oldest astronaut is John Glenn Jr who was 77 years 103 days old when he was launched into space aboard Discovery STS-95 on October 29, 1998. He was also a member of the group of seven test pilots selected by NASA to become the first American astronauts in 1959. He flew on Friendship 7 in February 1962, becoming the first American to orbit the Earth.

 

 

Oldest Competitive Walker
Philip Rabinowitz of Hout Bay, Cape Town, South Africa, is the oldest active competitive walker. Born February 1904, he still regularly competes in races over 20 km (12.42 miles). Rabinowitz was born in Lithuania but left for South Africa when he was 21.

 

Oldest NBA Player
The oldest NBA player was Robert Parish, born August 30, 1953. The Chicago Bulls player retired aged 43 years 231 days in 1997. He was nominated for the All-Star team nine times and was nicknamed "The Chief" after a character in the movie "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest". After starting his career playing for the Golden State Warriors, he was traded to the Boston Celtics in 1980, a team with whom he would stay for fourteen years or seventeen consecutive seasons. With his signature high jump shot, where he would launch the ball high into the roof before it would hit the basket, the Celtics reached the playoffs thirteen times, reached the NBA finals nine times, and won three NBA finals. In 1994, Parish signed for the Charlotte Hornets but was unable to repeat his winning streak. He moved to the Chicago Bulls in 1996.

 

 

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