The world is head over heels for Tanios "Tony" Helou of Deux-Montagnes, Quebec, Canada.
That’s because the 75-year-old is officially the oldest person to perform a headstand (male).
Tony, who achieved the record title on 16 October 2021 at 75 years and 33 days old, was inspired to attempt the feat for his family, but also wanted to prove that it’s possible to achieve great things at any age.
Curious to learn how Tony's world turned upside down?
Having always been physically fit, Tony would often walk on his hands for fun as a young man.
At age 55, he began training and working towards becoming healthier by running every day, doing pushups and performing headstands up against a wall.
Once Tony mastered the skill, he started practising his headstands everywhere he could: at home, at the park and in front of family and friends.
"I’m not shy about performing headstands," said Tony.
"My friends think I am very strong, and my family worries I may hurt myself but that hasn’t happened." – Tony Helou
Tony’s daily routine involves going to sleep and waking up early, running for 15 to 20 minutes to get his coffee, and doing a headstand followed by 20 pushups.
Tony’s daughter, Rola Helou, says that for as long as she can remember, her dad has been able to achieve headstands.
She recalls one specific incident where he bought her a 10-speed bicycle for her 15th birthday.
"We were at a park having a picnic and my dad rode up to us on my new bike, except he was doing a headstand on the bike as it was rolling," said Rola.
Realizing her father’s skill was quite unique due to his age, she encouraged Tony to reach out to Guinness World Records.
"My dad immigrated from Lebanon 45 years ago. When he retired 10 years ago, he did not know what to do with himself because he had always worked so hard," said Rola.
"Renewing his commitment to fitness has kept him sane and enabled him to stay in good physical health and winning the title has made him as excited as a child again." – Rola Helou
Tony says many people expected him to achieve the impressive record title and congratulated him when they heard the news.
"I told two of my neighbours and by the end of the day, the whole neighbourhood knew about it," he said.
Although Tony claims to feel relaxed after performing headstands, Rola says she suspects the health benefits aren’t his only motivator.
"My dad admittedly also likes the attention he gets as an older person doing a headstand. People often react with awe," she said.
Rola also says Tony loves randomly chatting with people he meets and discussing his newfound record title.
"He tells them he does headstands and performs on the spot. This happens most often with random police officers at the gas station." – Rola Helou
Although Tony admits that headstands have always come naturally easy to him, he has learned to perfect his technique throughout the years.
"At the beginning it was hard, but I found the right way to do it and it is much easier now," he said.
Tony's biggest challenge was doing the headstand on concrete the day of his record attempt.
The headstand was originally meant to be performed on grass, but he had to improvise due to the rain and says he would have been able to hold the headstand for even longer, but the concrete was painful on his head.
One suggestion Tony gives to those wanting to learn how to achieve a headstand is to avoid eating or drinking excessively before attempting it.
He also encourages those first starting off to balance against a wall to protect themselves if they happen to fall.
In the future, Tony would love to face his fears head on and attempt a headstand using just two fingers.
He hopes that his current record title will inspire elders to make healthy food choices and stay active and hopes to show the world that it’s never too late to be fit.
"If my story can inspire others to stay healthy, it would make me very happy."