As a Bears and Raiders wide receiver in the 1980s and 1990s, Willie Gault was one of the fastest players in the NFL. Now Gault is 55 years old. And he’d still beat a lot of NFL players in a footrace.
Gault was named USA Track & Field’s athlete of the week this week after he set new world records in his age group in both the 100 meters and 200 meters.
At the Oxy Invite in Los Angeles on Saturday, Gault ran an 11.30-second 100-meter dash and a 23.24-second 200-meter dash. The previous world records for men age 55 or older were 11.44 seconds in the 100 and 23.36 seconds in the 200. Gault previously set world records in the 45-49 age group and the 50-54 age group.
Gault was always a multi-sport athlete and may have been better at track than football: He was a member of the 1980 Summer Olympics team that was kept home from the Games in Moscow when the U.S. boycotted, and in 1983 he came in third place in the world championships in the 110-meter hurdles. At the same world championships, he and teammates Emmit King, Calvin Smith and Carl Lewis broke the 4×100-meter relay world record. He was also an alternate in the bobsled in the 1988 Winter Olympics.
In 11 NFL seasons, Gault caught 333 passes for 6,635 yards and 44 touchdowns. He led the Super Bowl-winning 1985 Bears in both receiving yards and kickoff return yards.