What's Ms. Knauss's secret? Speaking from her Allentown, Pa., retirement home on her 117th birthday last September, Sarah offered these wise words to her local newspaper: "Keep busy, work hard, and don't worry about how old you are." That's easy for her to say. The Social Security Administration, which has been sending her checks for nearly 53 years, must be tearing its collective hair out at the thought of second-century teenagers like Sarah popping up all over the country.
Thanks to Sarah Knauss, America now holds the gold medal in the most important race of them all -- keeping yourself alive. The spritely 117-year-old Pennsylvanian became the oldest person on the planet Friday, according to the Guinness Book of Records. She was wheeled into the spotlight after the death of Marie-Louise Febronie Meilleur, a French Canadian who had held the longevity crown since August -- despite being Sarah's elder by a mere month.