Orville vs. Hemphill: One Incredible Rivalry

This isn’t your ordinary rivalry between athletes. Dixon Hemphill and Orville Rogers caught the sporting world’s attention last year when they competed in USA Track and Field’s 60-meter dash as the only two men in the 90-99 age bracket. Hemphill (92 at the time) and Rogers (99 at the time) were even for a while until right at the finish line, when Rogers leaned forward and beat Hemphill by a hairsbreadth.

Orville Rogers has been running for 50 years, living and training in Albuquerque, NM. Before every race, he has to be cleared by his cardiologist as healthy enough to run. He is a WWII veteran who drives a red Chevy Camaro with his deceased wife’s name and the number 10 on it–“because she was a 10.”

Dixon Hemphill, also a WWII veteran, lives and trains in Fairfax, VA. He didn’t begin running until he was in his 50s. The only non-student allowed to work out on George Mason University’s track, Hemphill is an inspiration and motivation to the athletes and coaches who train there.

On March 17 of this year, Rogers and Hemphill met once again on the racetrack. There were five men competing in the 60-meter, but all eyes were on the two previous rivals. Now 93 and 100, both men gave it all they had, but this time Hemphill pulled ahead and crossed the line before Rogers.

When asked if we’ve seen the end of this great rivalry, Rogers responded, “I hope not. I hope I’ll be here next year.”

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