Did she suspend the laws of physics? Gymnast performs stunning routine

Gymnastics can be about a lot more than balance beams, vaults, and uneven bars. Rhythmic gymnastics is a sport that takes regular gymnastics in a creative, even artistic direction. Its routines are performed to music and elements of ballet and dance are combined with traditional gymnastic moves. To add both skill and artistry, rhythmic gymnastic routines often incorporate “apparatus manipulation,” in other words, the use of a ball, rope, hoop, clubs or ribbon. To be able to do all this, a gymnast not only needs to have artistic sensibility but also highly developed balance, flexibility, coordination, and perhaps less obviously, strength.

Daria Kondakova was born in Sochi, Russia — and the city now holds an annual Kondakova Cup. When she was just 15, this highly talented rhythmic gymnast won the gold medal at the 2006 European Junior Championships. She then went on to win medals at other international gymnastics events. A knee injury in 2012 dashed her hopes of participating in the Summer Olympics in London. After undergoing surgery, Kondakova decided it was time to retire from competition. But she hasn’t abandoned rhythmic gymnastics: she’s embarked on a second career as a coach and choreographer.

In the video posted below, you’ll see an incredible routine Kondakova performed at the 2011 World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships held in Montpellier, France. After a quiet start, her routine became more intense as she began using a golden ball to create stunning visual effects. She does astonishing turns, flips, spins, and aerials — all of which would be impressive on their own, but controlling the ball at the same time demands extraordinary skill. You’re almost left thinking that Kondakova is somehow able to suspend the laws of physics!

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