British Columbia

102-year-old Vancouver woman sets Guinness World Record for oldest curler

A 102-year-old Vancouver woman says she's received phone calls from as far away as England after clinching the Guinness World Record for oldest curler this month.

Lola Holmes says it's important to keep active and 'don't be a couch potato'

Lola Holmes at her home in Vancouver. Holmes turned 102 in September and holds the Guinness World Record title for being the oldest curler. (Maryse Zeidler/CBC)

A 102-year-old Vancouver woman says she's received phone calls from as far away as England after clinching the Guinness World Record for oldest curler this month.

"It's wonderful," Lola Holmes told CBC Radio's On the Coast. 

The centenarian started curling when she was 25, while studying nursing in Sudbury, Ont. After having two kids and a busy life, Holmes said she gave up the sport.

She picked it up again when she moved to Vancouver to retire with her husband at the age of 80.

Holmes was born on a farm in Luseland, Sask., and worked as a nurse in Sudbury, Ont., before retiring in Vancouver. (Lola Holmes)

"It's good to be physically fit, to go down and do what I do on the ice," Holmes said. 

A few years after returning to her favourite sport, Holmes developed carpal tunnel syndrome in her wrist and almost had to stop playing when she was 83.

She eventually discovered that stick-assisted curling was allowed in competition and took lessons to learn how to use the device. 

"For all these years since I've had my carpel tunnel syndrome surgery, I was told, 'You can't curl any longer,'" she said.

"And then out came this stick and I've had it for about six years now and I love it."

Routine on hold

The pandemic has put the sport on pause, but twice a week from morning to noon, Holmes would get together with her team at the Vancouver Curling Club. They would curl for a few hours and then enjoy a cup of coffee and some treats together.

"I love having them and we have a great talk together and socially, I miss it very, very much," Holmes said.

Holmes said she picked up curling again to stay active and make new friends when she moved to Vancouver with her husband more than 20 years ago. (Vancouver Curling Club)

When the club donated a rock in her honour for her 100th birthday, she asked them not to display it behind a glass cabinet, instead requesting that the rock be available for anyone to use.

"Everybody comes along ... and they say, 'Oh, we won the game because we played with your rock,'" Holmes said. 

"That is a great help in knowing that I'm helping someone do a worthwhile activity."

On top of curling, Holmes said she does Tai Chi at the local community centre, which has also closed due to recent COVID-19 restrictions.

She attributes her long life to keeping mentally and physically active and being health-conscious. 

"Take interest in something," she said. "Keep active, don't give up ... and don't be a couch potato."

With files from On the Coast

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