Bill Guilfoil is not about to become the oldest Olympian of all time, but the 93-year-old will be competing in his second straight U.S. Olympic table tennis trials next month.
“Table tennis is a lifetime sport,” Guilfoil said in a phone interview. “I feel good. Here I am at my age, and I don’t have any back problems or shoulder problems.”
Guilfoil, a Kansan who lost in the first round of qualifying at the February 2012 Olympic trials, is eligible to compete with the best players in the nation because the trials are open to everyone that pays the entry fee and is a good-standing member of USA Table Tennis.
The trials are Feb. 4-7 in Greensboro, N.C., but nobody makes the Olympic team at the event.
The top four men’s and women’s singles players advance to a North American Olympic qualifier in Toronto in April.
“I’m not expecting a miracle or anything,” said Guilfoil, who has family in North Carolina. “It’s like a little vacation.”
Guilfoil, who has been playing table tennis since age 13, owns a lifetime USA Table Tennis membership. He said he’s also played tennis, including nearly 60 years ago against Alex Olmedo, who went on to win Wimbledon in 1959.
Guilfoil wasn’t sure if he would be able to participate in the Olympic trials in late December but was confirmed as an entry during a phone call with USA Table Tennis on Friday, the organization said.
He said he spoke with Kansas City Royals Hall of Famer George Brett before the 2012 trials, telling Brett, “I don’t want to be a celebrity.”