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86 Year Old Gymnast Johanna Quaas

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86 Year Old Gymnast Johanna Quaas

An 86 year old woman from Germany, Johanna Quaas, recently set a world record after she competed in the 2012 Cottbus World Cup wowing judges and earning the title of the world's oldest gymnast.

Almost daily, Quaas practices on the parallel bars and has already won 11 gymnastic medals in the German senior citizen championships.

Quaas, a former sports teacher who comes from the eastern German city of Halle, first gained public attention when she appeared on a health program by local German television MDR in early March.

She says she now does gymnastics “just for fun” and that she has stopped participating in regular competitions.

“I want to give the others a chance too. And to perform against 70-year-olds all the time is no fun after a while," Quass said.

Translated interview with Johanna: 

Q: If there were World Championships or European Championships, you would be a candidate for a title, I would say. Is that the case?
J.Q.: I would love to compete with others and I always regretted that there are not even European Championships, not to mention Worlds for seniors. In every other sport that is the case just not in gymnastics.
Johanna always liked gymnastics

Q: In the world of gymnastics you have been known for a long time. For those who don't know this: you started quite early. In the fifties you were one of Eastern Germany's top gymnasts.
J.Q.: No, not really, I just was "Oberstufe" (pretty high level in their system but not quite elite). But I started out playing handball until 1954, and there we were Eastern German Champion in 1954, with the (she names a club that I can't really understand the name).

Q: But in gymnastics in Halle...
J.Q.: Along the way a started doing gymnastics, that was allowed then. Then I did actively gymnastics until 32 or 33. Also at "Wissenschaft Halle" (another club), back then. But then I restarted in 1956.

Q: A last word to Quaas and Freyburg. How does this match together? Forever, right?
J.Q.: Yes, forever, since I restarted gymnastics I was back here everywhere. And I love it, because one can do gymnastics outdoors, and as always the weather is beautiful.

Q: Yes, and the gymnasts deserve that.
J.Q.: Yes.

Q: Thank you very much, all the best, and where do we see you again?
J.Q.: The next one is "Schnepfenthal", I like going there, too. That's in the region of GutsMuth (an 18th century pioneer in gymnastics) and also Friesen worked there (early 19th century pedagogue). And I always like it there, too. Also senior championships. But from the championships I want slowly to retire, I think that was long enough now.

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