Johanna Quaas- The World’s Oldest Active Gymnast

Nmesoma Okwudili


June 7, 2024

Johanna Quaas, who lived in Germany, formerly served as a physical education teacher at a local school. She began her gymnastics journey at the age of nine, participating in her first competition in 1934. After completing her education, she diligently fulfilled the obligatory social service year through hard work.

Johanna Quaas, born on November 20, 1925, is celebrated as a German gymnast, officially recognized by Guinness World Records on April 12, 2012, as the world’s oldest active competitive gymnast.

In her reflections on the past, Quaas recalled starting gymnastics at a young age, with her parents imparting much of her early training despite not being gymnasts themselves. However, due to frequent relocations, she had to interrupt her gymnastics practice for a period of time.

At 86 years old, Johanna Quaas made history as a regular competitor in the Landes-Seniorenspiele, or State Senior Games, in Saxony. Her remarkable achievements reached a global audience on March 26, 2012, when a YouTube user posted two videos of her performing gymnastics routines on the parallel bars and the floor. These captivating clips quickly went viral, each garnering over 1.1 million views within just six days. Quaas’s extraordinary skill and vitality earned her widespread admiration, and she was honored not only by Guinness World Records but also with the prestigious Nadia Comăneci Sportsmanship Award from the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

Johanna Geißler married gymnastics coach Gerhard Quaas in 1963. Gerhard, born in 1932, was several years younger than her and shared her passion for gymnastics. He was also a trainer at SC Chemie Halle. Their partnership extended beyond their professional lives; together, they raised three daughters and enjoyed the company of four grandchildren and a great-granddaughter. The family expanded further with the birth of a second great-grandchild in 2017. Gerhard Quaas passed away in 2016 at the age of 83.

Johanna Quaas continues to reside in Halle (Saale), where she is fondly known by her personal nickname “Hannchen.” The media has affectionately dubbed her “Turn-Oma,” which translates to “Gymnastics Grandma.” Her enduring commitment to gymnastics and her vibrant spirit serve as an inspiration to many, illustrating that age is no barrier to achieving excellence and maintaining an active lifestyle.

Quaas is often seen wearing her distinctive green crushed velvet leotard as she performs her challenging routines on the parallel bars. Her incredible feats leave audiences speechless and in awe, showcasing skills that many young gymnasts today find difficult to achieve.

In 2016, at the age of ninety, Quaas realized a lifelong dream by skydiving from a height of approximately 3,000 meters (9,800 feet). She dedicated this exhilarating jump to Queen Elizabeth II, who also turned ninety that same year. Quaas expressed her admiration for the Queen, stating, “I respect her life’s work and adore her very much.” Her tandem skydiving partner for this momentous occasion was Eberhard Gienger, an Olympic gymnastics medalist.

Quaas’s skydiving adventure added another remarkable chapter to her already extraordinary life, further demonstrating her adventurous spirit and relentless pursuit of new challenges, even in her ninth decade.

Johanna Quaas has faced several injuries unrelated to gymnastics throughout her life. In the spring of 2014, she experienced a bike fall that temporarily prevented her from using gym equipment. Around the same time, she reported having issues with her shoulder due to a torn tendon, though the cause of the tear was not specified. Additionally, she suffers from osteoarthritis in her left knee. In early November 2018, while performing a non-sports-related task, she tore a tendon in her left biceps. This injury prevented her from participating in gymnastics at the 2018 Blume Festival in Gran Canaria and in apparatus gymnastics at the 97th Jahnturnfest in 2019.

Despite these setbacks, Quaas maintains a positive outlook and attributes her success to a well-rounded, healthy diet. She emphasizes the importance of not eating too much or too little and includes plenty of greens in her meals. Her dedication to taking good care of her body is evident and serves as an inspiration to others, demonstrating that proper nutrition and self-care are essential for maintaining an active lifestyle, even in later years.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles