Independent from Long Beach, California on January 31, 1960 · Page 111
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Independent from Long Beach, California · Page 111

Long Beach, California
Issue Date:
Sunday, January 31, 1960
Page 111
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YOUNGSTER by SID ROSS HACINT:, \vjs. J ACK-UNITING THROUGH the air with the greatest of case at left is Joe Stchlik, who may well be the world's most amazing athlete. Though he is 77 and a great-grandfather, the white-haired Joe-- · Exercises violently for 30 minutes a day, shadow boxing and doing knee bends and somersaults that would exhaust a boy of 16. · Ice skates with the free-and-easy abandon of a gay blade half his age. · Dances with his 73-year-old wife whenever the fancy seizes him--at least once a day. · Swims and dives with Olympian grace, doing swan dives and 30-foot back flips. (Till 1958 he swam in frigid Wisconsin lakes in October.) A friendly, outgoing type, the 5'9", 175-pound Slehlik says he feels as good as he acts. "I feel like a man of 50," he says. "1 haven't been sick since I was 10. Grip my muscles. Like iron. My doctor says I have the heart of a man of 40. I'm not trying to live longer, (hough, I just love athletics." Though;rctircd (lie was a linotypist), Joe bounces out of bed each morning at 7 and promptly starts his exercises. He finishes up with a vigorous rub-down with a rongh^ towel. In winter he ice skates, in summer he swims--"and I never miss a day." Just to make sure he keeps in shape, Joe sprints to the mail box--almost a block away--whenever he lias to post a letter. True to strong-man tradition, Joe was once a 125- pound weakling. "As a kid I was awfully skinny," he recalls. "Other kids made fun of me. When I was about 15, though, I made dumbbells out of some lead weights. Later I built my own gym in the back yard, complete with rings, horizontal bars--even a punching bag." Housework on the Run At 20 Joe was giving gymnastic exhibitions at picnics and fairs, also boxing occasionally--for fees of $5 or $10. He gave up boxing after his marriage (not surprisingly, he met his wife in a gym), but continued his exhibitions. "I don't like to brag," he says, "but I was the best horizontal-bar man in the state. And I went right on giving exhibitions till I was past 60." Eleanor Stclilik shares her husband's zip. "We ice skate or swim together every day," she says. "Also, I always do my own housework--and that includes running up and down the stairs." The Stchliks aren't planning on taking things easier as the years go on. "After you've been doing strenuous exercises all your life," says Joe, "you can't just quit-you'd keel over. Of course, I don't overdo, but I don't want to grow old gracefully in a rocking chair. I'm going to keep on exercising till the day I die--and when I can't exercise, by golly, I'll want to die." · Summer afternoons Joe, with muscles rippling, exercises at the beach. "A good-looking body," he winks, "attracts the girls." Adds his wife Eleanor: "Women are surprised he's 77." feiiJS'.., T',''-'^'""K-*.' : -'!yi". ·-;'»:. "'·*"?[/ : '""t"'-- - · * - "*·' · ' · · . - ' · " ' v ' - ' " ' ' ' '"*· - ' * " ' · · '" Summer mornings Joe takes his daily dip. He taught his Every morning Joe runs through his exercises. During the two daughters and three of his grandchildren to swim. day he often turns on the radio to waltz with Eleanor. Winter afternoons Joe ice skates with Eleanor or neighbors, like this teenager. "Maybe I'll take up golf," he says, "bu! now I figure that's a game I'll play when I'm a little older." is

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