“At least it shows my longevity”: News of the oldest Olympic competitor, retired police officer Elizabeth Callahan, comes via the Army Times, since Callahan is still a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve:

Callahan’s passion for pistol packing already has earned Summer Olympic trips to Barcelona, Atlanta and Athens, Greece, along with journeys to Hyderabad, India, for the Conseil Internationale du Sport Militaire’s 2007 Military World Games, and to Salinas, Puerto Rico, for the 2005 Championships of the Americas. She’s also competed in five World Championships and as many Pan American Games….

Callahan can easily laugh with herself – seemingly oblivious of the fact that Father Time could be ticking on her athletic career. Her approach to the sport, however, remains the same as she approaches her 57th birthday. “You still have to have the same mental approach, have to have the same techniques to execute the shot,” she said. “There may be a different perspective in maybe somebody who is younger or hasn’t been here before, but that’s just all part of experience – just having general experience in life.

“Throughout shooting, you will find that some things work at a certain period of time, and then after a while it doesn’t work anymore, so you maybe try something different. Maybe it’s your stance, maybe it’s your grip, maybe it’s your gun. There are always things that if something’s not working and you’ve worked at it for a while, OK, let’s try something different. How you execute, and how you execute under certain conditions, is always the important thing.”

“The same woman I’ve always been”: As political junkies everywhere continue to mull over Barack Obama’s poll numbers among women voters, a new New York Magazine profile of Michelle Obama shows her meeting some women right where it counts: talking about what affects their lives.

“All this talk about softening my image just really cracks me up,”
she protests later, via e-mail. “I’m the same woman I’ve always been.”
Early in the campaign, she came off as sassy and sarcastic, teasing
Obama about his morning breath and forcing him to quit smoking before
she gave him permission to run for president. She assessed our divided
country candidly, calling it “downright mean” and full of people
“guided by fear.” Now she has another purpose: to let people cry. A
square blue box of tissues has been placed onstage, next to an
unattractive plant.

“She’s going to be good,” says one woman, in the audience. “She’ll have us all crying!”

And cry they do, sharing their stories of health-care crises, job
losses, subprime-mortgage nightmares, about daughters dumping their
out-of-wedlock babies at their door and toddlers who are forced to
split a hamburger because there’s no money for two. It’s group
catharsis with Michelle as Mary in the Pietà, with the groove in her
forehead becoming increasingly pronounced. The purgation goes on for an
hour, with only the most minor of laugh lines: “I wasn’t stimulated by
President Bush’s stimulation,” says one woman, from the balcony. “Will
President Obama do something similar to a stimulus process?” Michelle
laughs, then says, coyly, “Yes, Barack is talking about doing something
for short-term stimulation.”

Things are starting, blessedly, to come to a conclusion when she
finally lets the veil slip, revealing a bit of her old self. “I don’t
want to sound like a broken record,” says Michelle, dodging a question
about her husband’s policies to help small-business owners. “But I’ve
decided to stay away from getting Barack’s policies wrong, because
it’ll be on the front page.” She puts her hand on her hip. “Then he’ll
be like, ‘You said what?’ ” She nearly snaps in the air. “ ‘Yeah,’ ”
she says, puffing out her chest, “ ‘I said you were gonna do this and
that!’ ”

Pumping iron for support: Most of us are familiar with the
advantages of resistance training for prevention of osteoporosis, for
metabolism, even for a buffer body. But given research showing its
benefits at also boosting immune function, cancer survivors are also getting to the gym in greater numbers:

A new program from the Y.M.C.A., in partnership with the Lance
Armstrong Foundation, offers cancer fitness classes at more than a
dozen Y’s in 10 states. At the women’s gym Curves International,
researchers from Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia are looking at
whether overweight breast-cancer patients can keep to a five-day-a-week
Curves routine for six months. And survivors are organizing their own

“There used to be this understanding that if you’re getting
treatment you’re supposed to be in your bed,” said Pam Whitehead, an
architect and survivor of uterine cancer who started the Triumph
Fitness Program at gyms in Modesto and West Sacramento, Calif.

In some cases, oncologists are prescribing exercise, gently prodding
patients to tackle whatever activity they can manage: light walking,
simple stretches, exercise with resistance bands.

“I started in 1992 and that was really a time when not as many
patients were exercising,” said Dr. Alexandra Heerdt, a breast surgeon
at Sloan-Kettering who is conducting a pilot program involving
exercise. “If a patient came to me back then and asked about exercise,
I would have said there wasn’t really any information.” But now, she added, “they have a lot of options.”

Wendy Rahn, 46, an associate professor of political science at the
University of Minnesota, knows this well. After a double mastectomy,
her shoulders hurt so much that she was often hunched in pain. Then,
while researching her illness, she discovered a 2005 study on cancer
and exercise.

“The effects — what we call effect sizes in statistical research —
were enormous,” she said, “and I was like ‘How come no one is talking
about this?’ ” She had given up exercise a decade earlier, but the
study inspired her to go back to the gym. “I started feeling so much better,” she said. “And it struck me that
if I’m feeling this good, then every cancer survivor should.”

So she founded a nonprofit group called Survivors’ Training, and in
January opened a fitness studio in White Bear Lake, Minn., offering
yoga, strength training, Pilates and Nia, which combines dance and
martial arts. “I like to think of it as a support group that moves,”
she said.

That’s ‘Lady’ Take it Off To You: Great actresses like Sian
Phillips, O.B.E., tend to disappear inside their roles — as when
playing Livia in I,Claudius, above, or  Kate to husband Peter O’Toole’s
Petruchio.  That task may be a little trickier, she told newspapers
this week, when she’s promised1 to take off her clothes onstage:

A STRAW poll of the world’s pensioners would not find
many willing to take to a theatre stage completely naked. But despite
her advancing years, Sian Phillips is no ordinary 74-year-old.

The acclaimed actress is preparing to appear nude in a stage
production of the hit film Calendar Girls – with just a strategically
placed bread bin and sunflower to hide her modesty.But thanks to a rigorous exercise regime and a programme of pilates
classes, the septuagenarian is better placed than most of her
contemporaries to meet the challenge.Because Welsh-born Sian must have a fair claim to be the world’s sexiest 74-year-old.

The I, Claudius star is the oldest member of a top-notch ensemble
cast assembled for the stage version of the hit 2003 film, which
originally starred Julie Walters and Helen Mirren…

Calendar Girls is based on the true story of the intrepid members of
the Rylstone Women’s Institute in North Yorkshire whose nude charity
calendar became an instant sensation when it was published in 1999.

Sian, a leading light in the Social Welsh & Sexy social networking group, yesterday admitted that the role was “daunting”.

She said: “I’ve done a few nude scenes on film – I’ve been in the
business since I was 16. But it’s a daunting thought actually going
naked on stage.

“Am I going to look good? Well, I do a lot of exercise because it’s
important in acting to keep in good physical nick and I go to pilates
classes. But to be honest, I don’t really care as long as I get my part right – that’s the important thing.”

Asked if women could still be sexy after 60, she said: “I’ve been
reported as saying a woman should not show her arms after the age of 30
when they go a bit flabby and that short skirts are out whenever
cellulite comes along.

“But age should never be a barrier to anything – my grandmother told me that.”

Sian admitted that going unclad in front of hundreds of people was
something she could never have envisaged in her days growing up on the
Black Mountain above Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen, a few miles north of Pontardawe
in the Swansea Valley. “We were strictly chapel, you know, really Welsh
chapel in those days and this kind of thing would be unheard of.

“But I went into acting early and got used to a different life though those days always live with me.”

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