Local athlete, Marilyn Redekop says that she will continue to play as long as her body lets her, proving that age is just a number.
Marilyn Redekop first started playing volleyball in 1963 when she was teaching at École Varennes in St. Vital. The teachers had a volleyball team and through that, she was able to teach herself and learn from her friends how to play. She took on the setter position.
Two years later, the University of Manitoba started up its Physical Education program and Redekop decided to enroll.
During her three years at UM, Redekop played on the then-called UM Bisonette volleyball team. Her team won the Canadian University Championship for all three years and was later inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.
Redekop was the first female referee to officiate at an international volleyball game at the Pan-Am Games in Winnipeg in 1967; in the following year, Redekop and her husband started a volleyball league in Thompson. She has also served many years coaching a number of volleyball teams.
The 80-year-old athlete now plays in the Winnipeg Women's Volleyball League with her granddaughter, niece, and friends.
"We lived in Thompson for a bunch of years, for 20 years, and then when I came in 1987 I formed a team of girls that I was teaching with," says Redekop. "We were in tier one or two and did very well for many years. Then I quit for a while and played tennis, and then my tennis friend said they would like to play volleyball. So, I formed a team and the rest is history."
Redekop says that as long as her body is able to keep up with her and her team is still willing to play with her, she doesn't plan on stopping any time soon.
The UM Bisonette alumn was featured on CTV as its Sports Star of the Week on January 30.
When asked how it felt to be recognized as a local inspiration, Redekop says that "it's actually quite an honour. I just feel like I'm very fortunate to be able to keep going but I always think, sort of the secret is don't stop. If you like doing something, just keep going and find a way to make it work for you."