From The Mainichi Newspapers
By Hiromi Nagano
Published October 18, 2018

Now in my 40s, I am re-challenging myself at tennis.  In my twenties, I participated in the Pro Tour, but for a while, I have distanced myself.
After being assigned to Los Angeles, I began to compete in amateur tournaments.  As there are regional representative tournaments, I began training off the court as well.  From cycling in the darkness to Special Forces muscle training, the variety has been abundant and enjoyable.
Many people also exercise under the blue sky.  Last month, I met an extraordinary woman,  Bonnie Frankel (63).  With close-cropped blonde hair, she repeatedly practiced sprinting.  She formerly was active in “Masters” track and field.  She spoke of re-entering college in her forties, where she helped change an NCAA rule preventing student-athletes from competing more than five years after the start of matriculation, allowing her to race against her younger classmates.
Now, she says she wants to participate in the 100-meter dash qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.  Although to the untrained eye it might appear difficult, Bonnie insisted, “the important thing is not whether I win or lose.  It’s about how close I can get to my goal.”
I felt my own ambitions rise upon hearing her words.  Self-satisfaction is enough.  My rival is not my twenty-year-old self, but rather the “me” of yesterday. [Hiromi Nagano]
Photo’s by Reuben Monastra

Olympic Spirit Drives This Pair of Athletes

by J.A. Adande

Published September 18, 2003
On a man-made beach in Carson, a 42-year-old man follows a course that will take him to Athens one way or another, almost as if his momentum and the weight of his three gold medals won’t let him stop.

On a track in Palm Springs, a 58-year-old woman takes her first steps on an improbable journey to the Olympics, guided by one of the central figures in one of the most unforgettable Olympic images.
Two chances at Athens. One unwanted, one unlikely. But inside of 330 days until the 2004 Games, Karch Kiraly and Bonnie Frankel are reminders of what the Olympics can — and should — be about.Kiraly won gold medals with the U.S. indoor team in 1984 and 1988. He teamed with Kent Steffes to win the gold medal in the inaugural Olympic beach volleyball competition in 1996.He and partner Brent Doble will compete in the FIVB Olympic qualifying tournament that begins at the Home Depot Center today, and if they do well enough and rack up enough qualifying points, he just might have to continue. Continue reading “Olympic Spirit Drives This Pair of Athletes”

It’s a Wonderful Life for Frankel

“What kind of year have I had?” said Bonnie Frankel. “Would crazy be enough of an answer? No? Well, then say I graduated college, won an issue, ran fifth in the nationals, gambled on not working so I could better myself and stayed alone. I don’t want another powerful man to eat me up. I won’t pair until I’m stronger.”

Bonnie Frankel turned 49 this month. And, as she would be the first to tell you, is still in the process of becoming. She opened the year as a senior at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She had found out she couldn’t compete on the track team because her Division I eligibility had run out 26 years ago.

She originally entered college in 1962, did poorly and dropped out, but nonetheless started the clock on her five years of athletic eligibility. In those pre-Title IX days before the National Collegiate Athletic Association staged women’s championships the five-year eligibility rule was basically meant to prevent coaches from ripening football players for 10 or 12 years.

Continue reading “It’s a Wonderful Life for Frankel”

Colleges; Its Good Deeds Aside, N.C.A.A. Is a Culprit

Bonnie Frankel has a cold, an “emotional cold,” she thinks, from watching herself become a heroic symbol, so she probably won’t jump into the swimming pool until tomorrow at the earliest. Joan of Arc was burned for following her inner voice, so Frankel, who is not put off by the comparison, is willing to wait a few more days to get wet.

Bonnie Frankel is a 48-year-old senior at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles. She was unable to compete on the varsity track team because she had originally enrolled in college in 1962. Under National Collegiate Athletic Association rules, the five-year period of eligibility at Division I schools begins the first day of enrollment. Bonnie had dropped out of school in 1963, but by 1967 she was out of luck anyway.

Continue reading “Colleges; Its Good Deeds Aside, N.C.A.A. Is a Culprit”