If you’re going to set a Guinness World Record, you might as well accomplish the feat not once, but twice.
That’s exactly what Monty Estis of Evergreen did on March 14 when he set the record for the oldest man — he’s 65 — performing a planche on the gymnastic rings. A planche is a skill that is one level more difficult than the iron cross during which the gymnast holds his body horizontally with straight arms.
Estis is an avid athlete, participating in a variety of sports from pickleball, tennis and volleyball to skiing, kayaking and paddleboarding. On top of that, he’s a gymnast and was on the team both in high school and college. So when he moved to Evergreen in 2012, he wanted to get back on the rings, his chosen apparatus, to improve his skills.
He was happy Wulf Recreation Center allows adults to use the apparatus, and he has been training since then. But what is training without a goal?
Estis, who also serves on the Evergreen Park & Recreation District’s board of directors, contacted Guinness World Records to see if it would consider adding the category for the record for the oldest man performing a planche, and Guinness said yes.
To meet the Guinness requirements, Estis had to find an Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique-regulation gymnastics studio with certified judges to chronicle his feat. He found Golden Gymnastics in Lakewood and owner Steve Artemis, who is certified.
On March 14, Estis took the challenge, wearing a College of William & Mary T-shirt to honor his alma mater’s gymnastics team. He also honored William & Mary coach Cliff Gauthier, a University of Denver graduate who began coaching gymnastics 50 years ago. Estis wore the hand grips he used in college, and still has his original gym bag and varsity jacket.
With his sons Brad and Ian, partner Kathy Fasold, and Molly Weber, gymnastics team coordinator at the Wulf Recreation Center, watching, Estis performed the planche for three seconds, a second longer than necessary. After he was through, there was some concern that the video camera used to chronicle the feat didn’t work, so, naturally, Estis did the planche again.
Fasold said reaching the goal was good for Estis, and she hoped he didn’t get injured performing the skill.
Artemis said this was the first time a Guinness World Record was set at Golden Gymnastics. As a judge, he said he was looking to make sure Estis had control while performing the skill. And he did.