"That's what makes life exciting," he says. "You've got to get that adrenaline high."
More than 10,000 athletes are meeting in Cleveland for The National Senior Games. Adults older than 55 — and some older than 90 — are running track, riding bikes, playing basketball and competing in many of the sports you might see at the Summer Olympics. In fact there are a few who were Olympians themselves back in the day who say they find that competition is just as satisfying in their later years.
One of those is 82-year-old swimmer Graham Johnston. When he's not racing or getting ready to race, he's in the stands, checking out the other swimmers with an expert eye.
"See," he says, pointing at one competitor, "he took a breath on the turn. Shouldn't have done that." But when it's over, he applauds and shouts "Great race" to all the swimmers.
And Johnston knows a great race when he sees one. He's been swimming since the age of 2. "My father was a manager of a swimming pool," he explains. And there wasn't a lot else to do in the small South African town where he grew up.
Over the decades, Johnston has set world records in various age groups for older swimmers. He's in several national and international swimming halls of fame. Back in 1952 he represented South Africa in the Olympics. But as an Olympian, he describes himself as an "also-ran."
"Unfortunately, when I had to train for the Olympics, I didn't have much money and I couldn't eat very well," Johnston says. "And I probably only had one half-decent meal a day. And I think I had some malnourishment. I never got in the final. I missed the final by one position."