‘The Ageing Athlete’ a poem by Neil Weiss

As the Games of the XXXI Olympiad come to an end, a ‘Friday Poem’ to consider life after sport…and other career transitions.

The Aging Athlete

You’re through – no walking up and down,

you think of speed and dig your heels,

testing this soil and that for a start,

but it’s no go…Practicing for leaps,

you start forward but exhaust the push

and end up with a damaging rush,

arms hanging, hands twitching at your sides,

chin bobbing on your chest: no pride

that once sustained you as you leapt

the next hurdle, hair up then down,

the wind in your ears, the crowd beside

itself, shouting, Come on! Come on!

and you smashed the tape with your chest

and sank into the arms of many lovers.

Neil Weiss      Poetry Magazine, August 1956

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Photo Credit: Getty Images/USA TODAY Sports 8/15/16

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