Former rock and roll publicist finds a new passion in ping pong

NEW YORK — 2008 was a bad year for Carol Klenfner.

She had major back surgery, endured the loss of her husband and then was let go from her long-time job in public relations repping some of the biggest rock bands in history.

"A couple of bands you might have heard of: The Stones, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Elton John," Klenfner said.

She said it all hit her like a ton of bricks.

"There I am in my much-smaller apartment and I was like, 'Who am I?' I am now a widow and unemployed," Klenfner said.

She happened to see a documentary called “Ping Pong” which highlighted four players over the age of 80.

"They were not just playing to win, they were playing to live. And I thought, 'Wow, I played ping pong when I was a kid. I bet this is something I can do,'" Klenfner said.

So she went to Spin in Manhattan with her best friend. They started off playing each other then joined a women’s league.

"We had to try out and we were good enough and then I got tired of losing and I started to get coaching and that's where I am now," Klenfner said.

Klenfner now competes on a high level at the National Senior Games and was inducted into its class of 2018 Personal Best Athletes.

"It was competitive and it was fun. At the senior games, there are tons of people of all ages," Klenfner said.

Having fun and staying fit, the 72-year-old said she has no plans of stopping.

"I would like to have a few more medals and I have some space on a shelf for some trophies. I know I could win the 80 to 85 category, who knows. I figure if I stay alive, I'm ahead of the game," Klenfner said.