18. April 2008  
Cottbus / Oslo  
Artistic Gymnastics

Espen JANSEN: I ll do gymnastics as long as I like it...!

Veteran and world record holder Espen JANSEN ...
Norwegian Espen JANSEN was not only the by far oldest gymnast (39) in Lausitz-Arena at the last Gymnastics World Cup in Cottbus, but also the only participant who started on all the six apparatuses - he was therewith (unofficially) the best in the all-around competition in this event and gained remarkable 81,725 points. 
Already at the last World Championships 2007 in Stuttgart the man from Oslo was the oldest WOLRDS-participant and holds a record of 13 participations in World Championships since his debut in 1991 in Indianapolis. This record was formerly held by Austrian Thomas Zimmermann with 12 WORLDS-participations ...
The father of four kids thinks about quitting somedays but hardly about realising it ...

The European Championships in May in Lausanne will be Espen JANSEN'S  12th participation in EuCh since his first in the Globen-Arena in Stockholm in 1989....

Espen Jansen (2nd on the left) - best of the three Norwegian individual starters at the WORLDS; failed as 86th curtly for the Olympics

... although his compatriot at the World Cup in Cottbus Joachim Hanche-Olsen was barely half as old....!
Apropos age: Jansen's stamina is actually comparable to the one of a gymnastics-dinosaur - Dr. Heikki SAVOLAINEN* (FIN) - Northern as well -  who participated in the Olypmic Games in Helsinki in 1952 at the age of 45 (!!) years and accomplished his 5th Olympic Games there, even winning gold with the Finnish team  ...
(* Savolainen was the first of three gymnasts who went down as speakers of the Olympic oath: he was followed by Takashi Ono (JPN) in 1964 and Nikolai Andrianow (URS) in 1980).

Olympic Champion Holger BEHRENDT (44) and Espen JANSEN (39) at the 'Cottbusser Oldy-Abend' in the palace garden Branitz

He is a role model for many youngsters due to his attitude towards professional gymnastics  and the fact that he as the world's oldest active gymnast cannot manage the highest difficulties anymore, but stands for passion in gymnastics and for excellent all-around competitions. 
Maybe we can see his universalism in direct connection to his health and his fun doing gymnastics  ...!
We are looking forward to Espen JANSEN as active participant of the upcoming European Championships in Lausanne!

* Eckhard Herholz, Gymmedia