Olympians tend to peak early, shining brightly on the world stage before fading quickly from public interest, but one of Britain’s top athletes continues to inspire us in his retirement, not with his physical prowess but with his dram-a-day regimen for longevity. Newly minted centenarian Bill Lucas competed as a long distance runner in the 1948 Wembley Olympic Games, but he’s only just accomplished his true feat of endurance: Crossing the hundred year mark and becoming the oldest Olympian in Britain, and he says it’s all thanks to his nightly glass of whisky.
In contrast with other aged imbibers, Lucas isn’t a slave to one particular drink, often enjoying a glass of wine or sherry before lunch along with his his nightly whisky, according to The Spirits Business. Colleagues at the Belgrave Harriers club—which has produced champions of track and field for 130 years and where Lucas has been a member for the last 80—feted the elder athlete with 172-year-old bottle of Madeira.
While Lucas missed his opportunity for a medal back in the ‘40s, finishing his 5,000 meter qualifying heat in 14:30.6—just 20 seconds too late to qualify—he lived a pretty impressive life as a Bomber Command pilot for the RAF. He explained to the BBC, “I spent six years in the service and I had done very little training and I’d missed 1940 and 1944, where I might well have got a medal or something like that… but Hitler deprived me of those, so I went and bombed them instead.” Respect.
With his rakish sense of humor, perhaps Lucas should continue the celebration with a bomber-appropriate Depth Charge made with his favorite whisky. But for something more worthy of a refined British gent and global figure, we can simply raise a glass of Madeira. Chin chin, Lucas.