LIMA, Peru — Usain Bolt, step aside.
Yes, that’s right. The jet-heeled Jamaican, a multiple Olympic champion and holder of the men’s 100 and 200-meter world records, just might not be the greatest living sprinter.
At least, not if you take age into account.
Delgado, a retired psychiatrist, was also crowned a world 100-meter champion this month, in a special category for 90 to 99-year-olds.
Yet the 100 meter isn’t even Delgado’s specialty. His favorite event is actually the 300-meter hurdles, a race in which he once set a world record, for the 80-89-year-old category.
Delgado’s hearing loss made it difficult to give GlobalPost an interview, but his proud daughter Iris, 57, was more than happy to tell us about the life and feats of the grandfather of six.
“He was born an athlete,” she said. “It’s in his blood. He’s been doing sport his entire life.”
Back in the day, Delgado was once one of Peru’s best sprinters. In the 1940s he clocked a personal best of 10.9 seconds for the 100 meter. But he narrowly missed out on a place at the Pan American Games, which would have been his one international competition during his sporting prime.
In an entirely positive way, he never quite got over that disappointment and has been using it as motivation ever since.
Two decades later, in his mid-40s, Iris says, as a psychiatry professor at a university in his native Arequipa, Peru, his students invited him to compete in their college games. He kicked their butts.
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But it wasn’t until he turned 65 that he actually heard about masters athletics. Since then he has never looked back, competing in the 300-meter hurdles, 100 and 200 meters at multiple South American and world championships.
Yet, according to Iris, her father has no real secret to his longevity. He “eats everything,” she says, except for cutting out red meat about a month before competition.
And he was even a hardcore smoker, getting through two packs of cigarettes a day from adolescence until his mid-60s.
But perhaps the coolest thing about Delgado is the fact that he continues to dream of sports glory just like any star-struck youth.
“It’s all he thinks about,” says Iris. “He lives to train and can’t wait for the next competition. He absolutely loves it.”