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CLASS OF '35

85, and Still Throwing His Weights Around

"I don’t jump very high," Robert Detweiler W’35 L’38 likes to tell people. "But I jump pretty high for an 85-year-old." Few would argue with the Philadelphia-area attorney, who took second place in his age group in the high jump at the 1999 Outdoor National Masters track and field championship. Detweiler, who has been jumping for seven decades, cleared the bar in Orlando back in August, at a respectable 2 feet 6 inches.
Illustration by Sam Day   
Just months before, he competed in the Indoor National Masters track and field championship in Boston, placing third in the shot put, second in the weight throw and first in the super weight throw. His performance in the latter category (10 feet), was "good enough to have me designated an All-America," Detweiler says.
   
He’s been competing in the games, which this summer drew 7,000 participants, ages 30 and up, since 1976. (Detweiler broke the world record in his age group for the 35-pound weight throw three times, in 1983, 1984 and 1989.) For Detweiler, the competition has been a source of great friendships as well as continued physical fitness over the years. He’s currently coaching a 62-year-old woman whom he reports is "one of the best in the masters. She could pick you up and throw you over a fence."
   
With his 65th year class reunion planned in May, Detweiler remains an active Penn alumnus with an encyclopedic memory for Quaker track and field trivia. During his college days he played football and ran track with George Munger Ed’33.
   
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Copyright 1999 The Pennsylvania Gazette Last modified 10/28/99