Olga Kotelko, masters track and field star, dead at 95

B.C.'s 95-year-old track and field star Olga Kotelko died at her home on Tuesday after suffering a brain hemorrhage on the weekend.

Nonagenarian world-record breaker died Tuesday following a brain hemorrhage

Olga Kotelko said growing up on a farm instilled in her a hard work ethic that stuck with her throughout her life. She took up track and field competition at age 77. (CBC)

B.C.'s 95-year-old masters track and field star Olga Kotelko died at her home on Tuesday after suffering a brain hemorrhage on the weekend.

Kotelko began her track and field career when she was 77, competing around the world often as the only woman in her age category. She won over 700 gold medals and broke dozens of world records.

Bruce Grierson, a close friend of Kotelko’s who wrote a biography of the track and field champion called What Makes Olga Run, said she was still competing actively.

Track and field masters legend Olga Kotelko was often the only female competitor in her age category.

“I mean the flag is flying at half-mast at masters tracks all over the world today,” said Grierson. “Not only because of what she did, but who she was.”

Kotelko competed in long jump, high jump and hammer throw. She also ran the 100-metre and 200-metre sprints.

Medical researchers were interested in Kotelko and her physical prowess given her age.

Originally from Saskatchewan, Kotelko moved to New Westminster in 1953. She most recently was living in West Vancouver with her family.

Kotelko is survived by her daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren.

With files from Terry Richardson

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