Louis Billinkoff, at the age of 96, surprises and surpasses expectations with every sprint.
"I started running when I was 89 years old," says Billinkoff.
"All my life I have been aware of the fact that I was a pretty swift runner, but I didn't do anything with it. I didn't partake in any competition or try to outdo anybody."
After suffering a heart attack at 89, Billinkoff started walking around the track at the Reh-Fit Centre for his rehabilitation. This track is where he discovered his love to run.
Billinkoff says, "When I was there walking the track, I thought I would enjoy running ... I ran quite a bit and my son told me that my running was good enough to compare with some of the world records, which I wasn't aware of. He entered me into a race here at the University of Manitoba and I did quite well. So that was my beginning with the competition."
"I just enjoy doing it because it gives me confidence. I find that I get a joy out of running."
Billinkoff, born and raised in Winnipeg, has not always been known as an athlete: "As a matter of fact, I was very bad at athletics. Nobody wanted me on their team when I was a kid."
For the last five years, Billinkoff has been running in the 100-metre competition. Recently, though, he decided to commit to the 50-metre sprint:
"I saw that in the 50-metre competition, the best in the world was 16.81 seconds. I looked at that with wonder because I know I can do much better than that. I run 60 metres in the time that they run 50. So I said, 'It's a sinch. I can beat that.'"
On Saturday, June 22, Billinkoff ran his 50-metre sprint at the University of Manitoba. Even with a headwind working against him, he beat the world record by 1.13 seconds.
Billinkoff is enjoying his victory, but also may have set his sights on the next goal. Billinkoff says, "Next year the world competition will take place in Toronto. I'm being urged by different people to go to that, so I am going to think about it."
No matter where Billinkoff chooses to compete, he says his fan club is quite dedicated.
Billinkoff says, "My two sons are my greatest fans, but I have a lot of people from the Reh-fit centre coming out to watch me run and I'm very appreciative of the friendship I got there."
Billinkoff understands that he is very lucky to have the health, at his age, to continue his running career but still encourages others to try new things.
"I think that people should try new things that they may not have thought of. I was surprised that I could do the racing which I have been doing - I didn't know I could do it - but when I tried it I found out that it was good."