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86-year-old gymnast does backflips and headstands

Johanna Quaas is an 86-year-old former sports teacher from Germany who stays in shape by practicing gymnastics every day. Msnbc.com's Dara Brown reports.


MAINZ, Germany – Trying to stay healthy in your senior years? You might want to follow the example of 86-year-old German retiree  Johanna Quaas.  

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

During a break in the recent Cottbus Challenger Cup gymnastic competition she wowed the audience with her performance. She not only performed a full planche at the bars, in which she held her body flat on the balance bars supported only by her arms,  but also showed a handstand, the cartwheel, backward rolls and a headstand.

A video of her recent performance by GymMedia.com has gone viral on YouTube and gotten more than 1.4 million clicks. She has even had to hire a media agent in Berlin because she’s been so overwhelmed with interview requests.

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. Maybe it’s because she hardly has any competition in her age group. The only other athletes in her senior category are in their mid-70s.

“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 told MDR television.

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