#372 Record-setting gymnast at 86

In April 2012 Johanna Quaas set a new record as the world’s oldest gymnast. Not bad for a woman who is 86 years old.

What is really impressive is how strong, flexible and skilled she is. You can watch her demonstrating her skills at the Cottbus Challenger Cup in Brandenburg, Germany. The top video shows her doing a floor exercise. In the second video she performs on the parallel bars.

The octogenarian has become an Internet sensation. Millions have watched the videos. I’m sure some people just find her “cute”, in the patronizing way older women find themselves being called “young lady” or “sweetheart” by people a quarter their age.

She is much more than that. At a time when lack of exercise and poor diet are putting toddlers and teens at risk for heart disease and diabetes, Johanna Quaas is a fit, active woman. After decades of gymnastics, she can still perform feats most people can’t do in their twenties.

So for anyone who feels too old to pursue a dream – at 80, 70 or even 40: Watch the videos. Square your shoulders. Take a deep breath, and go for it.

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