The 94-year-old Johanna Quaas is a German gymnast who holds the Guinness World Record for being the world’s oldest gymnast and has won German Citizen Championships several times.
They say aging weakens the physical strength and stamina of the body. Whereas, Betty Friedan believes-
"Ageing is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength."
Hailing from Halle (Saale), Johanna Quaas is a 95-year-old German gymnast who defies all the odds, and her extraordinary talent goes beyond her age. She has won the German Citizen Championships, which is held every five years, 11 times, and she is also a Guinness World Record holder.
She is a regular competitor in the amateur competition Landes-Seniorenspiele held in Saxony, Germany. She is married to gymnast coach Gerhard Qaas and has three daughters. Johanna is also the co-author of the gymnastics textbook titled "Gerätturnen."
Let us know the inspiring life story of the world’s oldest gymnast Johanna Quaas.
Born on 20 November 1925 in Hohenmolsen, Johanna began her career as a gymnast at a tender age. She participated in her first-ever competition in 1934 when she was just nine years old. After completing her schooling, she worked in the obligatory social year.
Back in the year 1945, she completed her training as a gymnastics coach in Stuttgart. Then she moved to Weißenfels, where she began learning handball since gymnastics was banned by the Allied Control Council, East Germany (due to World War II when individual sports were discouraged, and team sports were promoted). During the war times, she offered her services by helping in agricultural work. She even played handball like a pro and won the Eastern German championship in 1954.
In 1947, when the ban on gymnastics got lifted, she began doing gymnastics again. Then in 1950, she began studying at the University of Halle-Wittenberg and then trained coaches at the Institut für Körpererziehung and also trained at the HSG Wissenschaft Halle.
In 1961 at SC Chemie Halle, she coached various gymnasts, including Barbara Dix-Stolz and Christel Felgner-Wunder, who later got nominated to start at the 1964 Summer Olympics. When she turned 57, Johanna rebegan training in 1982 and won at the VII Turn- und Sportfest der DDR. After the German unification, she also started at Deutsche Turnfeste.
It was in 2012 when at the age of 86, Johanna’s multiple YouTube video clips featuring her training at Turnier der Meister went viral and garnered millions of views. Many German and international newspapers and TV channels covered her story. She appeared in the German TV show named Gottschalk Live, and her story came in 188 Chinese newspapers. The same year, Guinness World Records recognized and certified her with title World’s Oldest Gymnast.
While performing the tough tricks on the parallel bars, Johanna is often seen in her signature green crushed velvet leotard. Her remarkable stunts can leave any person bewildered in amazement as she pulls off what not many young people can do.
According to the Guinness World Records, she started competing again at the age of 56. Aiming to keep competing until she can’t, she said-
“I do gymnastics to avoid being susceptible to falls and that is a good preventive tool.”
She noted that she also keeps herself young by taking naps and eating a mostly plant-based diet. She adds-
“My face is old but my heart is young. Maybe the day I stop doing gymnastics is the day I die.”
“If you are fit, it is easier to master life.”
She also enjoys other physical activities such as climbing, swimming, and dancing. She does not take any medicines or nutritional supplements and rarely falls ill.
Source: Guinness World Records
We must say that she may look like a typical great grandmother, but it is not just it. And there’s undoubtedly more to her than her white hair and wrinkled face- she is an elite athlete with exceptional agility and strength.
What she does even at this age is outstanding, and her strict workout regime and dedication to gymnastics are highly commendable! She is passionate about her craft and gives all her heart and soul to it. She serves as a true inspiration for today’s laid back youth and the new generation kids.
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