I forgot what illness is: 94-year-old gymnast Kaas flies on the uneven bars and twists somersaults
Gymnastics is considered to be a sport that starts early and ends early, and 20-year-old girls are called veterans. German Joanna Kaas is 94 years old and openly scoffs at stereotypes. A gray-haired grandmother in a green velvet tights flutters on the uneven bars, does a handstand, does a wheel and stands on her head. War and politics ruined her dreams of an Olympic podium, but her love of gymnastics prevailed. An old woman from the Guinness Book of Records trains daily and does not know what pills are. Kaas is sure that the day she does not come to the uneven bars will be her last day.
Gymnastics is prohibited
Joanna was born in 1925 in Germany, which was then called Weimar republic. The girl, following the example of her parents and older sisters, was engaged in gymnastics and got great pleasure from it. At the age of 9, she performed for the first time in competitions, but the coaches did not see any serious prospects. With the outbreak of World War II, we had to forget about sports altogether.
At the end of the war, gymnastics was banned in Germany, so the athletic and energetic girl tried her hand at handball and even became the champion of the GDR. Later, Joanna's favorite business ceased to be illegal. The athlete returned to the gym, but as a coach. The woman received a specialized education at the university, helped in the preparation of athletes and coaches and wrote a well-known textbook on gymnastics. Among her students were the champions of the GDR, participants in the world championships and the Olympic Games. All this time Kaas worked in parallel as a physical education teacher at school.
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In 1963, Joanna married coach Gerhard Kaas and focused on raising three daughters. It seemed that things were going to a calm old age, but the passion for gymnastics prevailed. At 56, the woman, in the company of two longtime friends, resumed training and began performing at veteran competitions. Medals, applause, places on the podium - everything that she could not achieve in her youth became reality after half a century.
Since 1982 Kaas has devoted every day to training and successfully performed in various age categories, but real fame came to her only 30 years later. The organizers of the World Cup stage in Cottbus invited the elderly anthemShowcases, and the bar and carpet exercise videos have garnered millions of views on the internet. In the same year, 86-year-old Joanna entered the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest active gymnast on the planet.
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People don't believe that the old woman is capable of this
What this granny is doing on the 1.6 meter parallel bars looks impressive even without the age discount. Leg swings, transitions, upside-down handstand, horizontal arm support and elegant dismount - Kaas programs invariably enthrall audiences. And in floor exercises, the gymnast also does somersaults and spins the wheel. Unsurprisingly, many users refuse to believe in her stated age. However, experts from the Guinness Book of Records checked and stated: Joanna Kaas was really born in 1925.
Dominik Bindl / Getty Images
And the athlete only dismisses the questions about the risk of injury. She believes that constant exercise is the best prevention of falls, which often happen to older people. Johanna herself has not taken any pills for many years and feels great.
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A phenomenal German pensioner lost her husband a few years ago. She has four grandchildren and already has great-grandchildren, but they rarely see their unique grandmother. In addition to traveling to veteran competitions, Kaas travels around the world with motivational performances for seniors. I completely forgot what illness was, until I blew under the air conditioner in a hotel in Singapore, ”the cheerful old woman laughs.
Kass calls constant activity the secret of longevity. She is sure that at any age the main thing is not to stop, but to keep moving. A woman does gymnastics for at least an hour a day, and also swims and dances. At 90, the athlete jumped with a parachute for the first time. She repeated the video with the imaginary participation of the same age, Queen Elizabeth II, shown at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics.
Joanna Kaas is now 94, but she still regularly dresses in green velvet leotards and goes to the gymnastic platform.