At age 93, metro table tennis guru gets a crack at making Olympic team

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- He's not your typical world class athlete. When the 2016 Olympic Games open this summer, a table tennis guru from the metro could be there, turning back the clock by decades.

Even if you've seen table tennis in the past, Bill Guilfoil will show you a point or two.

The retired Fairway, Kansas businessman has been invited to try out for the U.S. Olympic Table Tennis team, at the young age of 93.

“I never think about it,” Guilfoil told FOX 4 News.” I think it was W.C. Fields who said, 'it's just a number.'”

He's been playing the game for 80 years, and won table tennis matches all around the world, and if he makes it past the trials on February 4th, Guilfoil will become the oldest Olympian in the history of the games.

“They tell you you're playing for your country, and you are,” Guilfoil said. “I’m not a bit afraid to go there and play them.”

Elliott McDermed, co-owner of the Overland Park Racquet Club, says Guilfoil, who was born in 1922, has mastered the game, and modified it to suit his skills.

“He has better than 20/20 vision, and he's learned, at least on the tennis court on how to play and win without having to move that well,” McDermed said.

Guifoil still provides private tennis instruction at Overland Park Racquet Club. He also leads a Sunday evening table tennis club, which is typically attended by dozens of people.

“If I played bill at table tennis, I'd be lucky to get a couple of points against him,” McDermod, 41, said.

This isn't Guilfoil's first swing at the Olympic Games. He was also invited four years ago, when, at the age of 89, he lost a close call in a qualifying match. He says that proves age is only a number.

“You'll feel it right away. There's a feeling about you when you go to a national event, a world event. You'll feel it,” Guilfoil said.

It's a chance he'll remember for the rest of his life -- which is nowhere close to complete.

Guilfoil will play in the Olympic Trials next Thursday in Greensboro, North Carolina. The nonagenarian is also planning to serve as a test subject for a group at UCLA, which, according to Guilfoil, is studying table tennis' effects in battling Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

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