And a four time Olympic gold medalist, has gone out of retirement to help the United States bid for Olympic glory. At the tender age of 40, Janet Evans has qualified for the US' 400 and 800 metre freestyle teams, bidding to win her 5th and 6th Olympic gold medals, but will face fierce competition of British European and Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington.
But the main problem which faces any athlete above the age of 30, is to try and prevent any injury, as it is likely that any injury which they get, could be their last. And Janet Evans' secret has always been to have a healthy diet, a good fitness schedule, and also her 15 years away from the sport. Despite not being recommended, the break has probably kept her in a good mental shape - although it could mean that she is not in the right physical shape. However, constant workouts and swims may have just kept her up to standard with the fitness requirements for top Olympic athletes.
Another good example of a top sportsmen who has been forgotten, and somewhat overlooked is Italian and Juventus playmaker Andrea Pirlo. At the age of 33, following his sale from Milan people have forgotten about Andrea, and forgotten the abilities he possesses to dictate the middle of the park, like he could ten years ago. Yet with Italy's surprising run up to the Euro 2012 final, people have been brought into the light of the talent Pirlo possesses, despite a 'disadvantage' with his age. People have realised that he's special and really means business.
So age at the end of the day doesn't necessarily matter. The only difference for athletes is that their fitness will dip, which really doesn't matter as long as they are constantly training and working hard. As long as they can avoid injury, they could easily last till 40, probably not into the mid 40's where no matter what state they are in, they will be replaced by younger and fresher athletes with more of a thrive to succeed. However, athletes with a special ability could never really lose it, for form is temporary, but class is permanent.