58-Year-Old Retired Race Walker Makes Stunning Comeback, Clinches Third at US Olympic Trials!

A 58-year-old woman from Pennsylvania has achieved a remarkable feat by placing third in the US Olympic Trials for race walking, despite having retired from the sport over two decades ago. Michelle Rohl, originally from Wisconsin, previously represented Team USA in the 1992, 1996, and 2000 Olympic Games. After retiring 20 years ago to homeschool her five children, she recently welcomed her first grandchild and made a triumphant return to race walking by competing in the 20-kilometer event at the US Olympic Team Trials on Saturday, June 29, 2024.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by People Magazine (@people)

Michelle completed the race in just over 1 hour and 42 minutes, securing third place in the event held in Springfield, Oregon. Her past Olympic performances include finishing 20th in 1992, 14th in 1996, and 17th in 2000.

In an interview, Michelle revealed that she trains daily, covering a total of 45 miles per week at an 8-minute-per-mile pace. She has persevered through several injuries, including a concussion from tripping and hitting her head on a curb last year and splitting her chin during a race in Toronto three weeks ago.

“I just said, ‘I have to stay on my feet and keep going forward,’” Michelle recounted about her determination to finish the race. “I was glad to be done, really. It would have been more rewarding if I wasn’t just trying to stay up for the last two laps.”

Although the United States does not have a spot for race walkers in the Paris 2024 Games, Michelle gave her best effort. Her husband, Michael Rohl, praised her mental toughness, saying, “I’ve never known anyone who is as mentally tough as her.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by RUN (@outside_run)

“She likes to run, she likes to compete, and it’s a lifestyle for both of us,” Michael added. “It makes her happy, and I’m just happy to be along for the ride.”

Michelle expressed no regrets about taking a break from the sport. “My middle daughter was like, ‘Mom, you were a really good athlete. Then you had kids,’” she said. “‘And then we all grew up, and you’re a great athlete again. I think we were the reason.’”

Her children, now aged between 18 and 33, were the reason Michelle initially retired from race walking. “I was ready for a break and I wanted that part of my life,” she explained. But she returned stronger than ever, being the oldest competitor and outperforming her previous Olympic results.

“I told her, ‘You have to do this because you might inspire some other people to keep going,’” Michael shared. “‘Like who does this? The answer is, no one else has. So just go do it and have fun doing it because you can.'”



Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *