SAN DIEGO — Betty Goedhart isn’t letting her age slow her down from things she loves. She belongs to a small community that gathers at Trapeze High in Escondido but unlike any of her peers, Goedhart is a world record holder.
Eighty-six-year-old Goedhart flies through the air with the greatest of ease. The La Jolla resident even overcame her fear of heights to fly on the trapeze.
“Very frightened of heights, very scared of standing on that platform and looking down and it’s higher than you think,” Goedhart said. “But I’m here, I jumped and it was like it changed my life.”
Goedhart quite literally flipped her way into the 2019 Guinness World Record book, becoming the oldest performing flying female trapeze artist, a title she earned at age 84.
“But I hope somebody beats me someday,” said Goedhart. “I was honored and it still is an honor.”
Her aerial ambitions began as a young girl growing up in Sugar Creek, Missouri.
“I saw these women flying in the circus and I said someday, I’m going to do that,” said Goedhart.
She became a trapeze artist sort of by chance. It was on her 78th birthday that a friend gave her a gift certificate to try trapeze for the very first time. That was eight years ago and now, Goedhart has become a seasoned veteran.
“For me, it’s another world,” said Goedhart. “It is a world that I didn’t expect in my life and I feel very blessed that I got that little coupon.”
“You know, now and then an older person will come out and maybe cross it off the bucket list but they don’t normally come back,” said trapeze catcher Andrew Duncan. “But she comes four times a week, she practices more than I do and she’s just amazing. Every time I see her climb that ladder, I’m always proud of her and the tricks she pulls off are better than mine, so she’s amazing.”
Goedhart’s ambitious spirit gave her a professional ice skating career that spanned five decades, traveling the world performing with the company Holiday on Ice, where she also met her late husband. In 2004, she sold her business in England and moved back to the U.S. to retire.
“I don’t know how long I’m going to be able to do this so I better enjoy today and get the most out of it,” said Goedhart.
“It takes a lot to become a trapeze artist and for her to do it at her age, is just beyond amazing,” said Duncan.
But age doesn’t mean much to this record holder, who encourages others to never let age hold you back from experiencing something new.
“Try it, try it,” she said. “You might be surprised and then you’re very proud of yourself.”
And she can say that very proudly.