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16 Mar, 2020 14:35

Skating at 80: Meet the great grandmother who took up ice hockey at 80 YEARS OF AGE

Skating at 80: Meet the great grandmother who took up ice hockey at 80 YEARS OF AGE

Valentina Fyodorova proved that you're never too old to pick up a new passion after revealing her newfound love of playing ice hockey, despite being 80 years of age.

Fyodorova had only learned to skate at the age of 79, and only started playing hockey at 80, but she is now the captain of a senior women's hockey team in her village in northwestern Russia.

The octogenarian, a former school principal, had no prior experience of the sport when she decided to give it a try, and admitted she had to overcome a few fears before stepping out onto the ice.

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That fear extended to those around her as Fyodorova and her friends were concerned about the possibility of her suffering a bad, bone-breaking fall.

"It was a little scary at first, but when we started to play we forgot everything," she said.

"We forgot our fear and that we are old.

"After playing on the ice, you feel like you have so much more energy. You feel lighter. You don't feel those 80 years at all."

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Fyodorova is now the skipper and oldest team member of "Ustyanochka", a team that features a host of women in their 50's and 60's. They train three times a week, both in the gym and on the ice.

The great grandmother to three great grandchildren, admitted she might not be as athletic or skilful than her younger teammates, but said she loves the spirit and camaraderie of being a part of the team.

The team is coached by former Russian national team player and Olympian Maria Onolbayeva, sho said Fyodorova was an inspiration to her teammates and others around the country.

"She leads by example," she said.

"By skating and playing hockey, she shows that even at that age, you can do anything."

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On her red jersey, Fyodorova proudly wears number 80. It is not a homage to one of Russia's hockey greats, but a tribute to her age.

Rather than trying to defy their age, Fyodorova and her teammates are embracing their advancing years, and even feature their respective ages on their jerseys as their chosen shirt numbers.

"We are old people. We aren't embarrassed to show our age," she laughed.

"Let everybody see it."

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