Johanna Quass is still performing, 83 years after her first competition
Johanna Quass was 9 years old when she entered her first gymnastics competition all the way back in 1934, and nearly 83 years later, the nonagenarian still hasn’t given it up. At a recent competition in Berlin, she was back on her favorite apparatus, the parallel bars, to perform a routine that hasn’t eroded with age.
The former high school physical education teacher has long been an athlete. In 1954, her handball team won the East German Championship and she’s collected 11 senior German national gymnastic titles, including the first championship awarded after German reunification, which she calls her proudest achievement.
When the Guinness Book of World Records certified Quass as the world’s oldest gymnast five years ago, she said that she hoped to still be competing into her 90s. Staying active has allowed her to meet that goal, and she encourages others to do the same.
“I practice gymnastics only twice per week, but every day I do an hour of some sport or exercise—usually swimming or a walk,” Quass says. “If you stick with it you can definitely carry on at a high age.”