122 years…OLD

Do you know what a centenarian is?
It’s someone who is 100 years old.
What, then, could be a supercentenarian?


A supercentenarian is someone who has reached the age of 110. 1 in 1,000 centenarian will live to be supercentenarian.

When you google: “the oldest person ever“, Guinness World Records will give you the name: Jeanne Louise Calment and tell you a story of a woman who was born on 21 February 1875, around 14 years before the Eiffel Tower was constructed (she saw it being built), and some 20 years before the first movie screening. One year after her birth, Tolstoy published Anna Karenina and Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone. Jeanne Louise Calment from France lived a quiet life. But an unprecedentedly long one. Her marriage to a wealthy distant cousin, Fernand Nicolas Calment, in 1896 meant that Jeanne didn’t have to work for a living. That may have played a part in her extraordinary longevity: she was free to swim, play tennis, cycle (she was still cycling until the age of 100) and roller skate, all of which promoted excellent good health.

Of course, when you happen to live this long, it means that people around you don’t, so she lived through the deaths of her husband, daughter and even her grandson.

You can also read that Jeanne took up fencing when she was 85, mainly had a good diet, but also a sweet tooth – she apparently ate 1 kg of chocolate each week. She loved her cigarettes – started smoking at the age of 21 and quit only when she was 117.

Jeanne Calment made history when she died at the age of 122 in 1997, but a new investigation claims that the story is somewhat different.

A researcher, Nikolay Zak of the Moscow Centre For Continuous Mathematical Education claims that Calment, in fact, died at the age of 59 in 1934, and her daughter, Yvonne, assumed her identity in order to avoid inheritance taxes, and was thus the one who died in 1997, at the impressive-but-not-record-breaking age of 99.

The only way to prove the case would be to exhume the bodies and check their DNA.

What do you think?

Exercises

What do the words mean?


[1] In the sentence: We went early to avoid the crowds, AVOID means:
stay away from
stop
not see
[2] In the sentence: He inherited the business from his father, INHERITED means:
his got the business after his father died
his father gave him the business as a present
he bought the business from his father
[3] In the sentence: The police took the unprecedented step of publishing the victim’s photograph, UNPRECEDENTED means:
never happened before
very strange
surprising
[4] In the sentence: That may have played a part in her extraordinary longevity: she was free to swim, play tennis, cycle (she was still cycling until the age of 100) and roller skate, all of which promoted excellent good health, LONGEVITY means:
a long life
the amount of time someone or something lives
the amount of time something lasts
[5] In the sentence: The FBI exhumed the body of a man killed in 1985, EXHUMED means:
removed the dead person’s body from the ground
take the dead person’s body to the hospital
finally find the dead person’s body