18 April 2016 - Dipa Karmakar created history by becoming India's first ever female gymnast to qualify for the Olympics. In a country starved of non-cricketing sporting icons, she immediately became the toast of a nation. The very next day, Dipa won the gold in the Vault event of the qualifier. The first ever international gold for India in gymnastics.
How did she achieve this? By perfecting the "Produnova Vault". She is one of the five gymnasts who have successfully done the Produnova Vault. This has a difficulty score of 7.0, the highest difficulty level in gymnastics. The vault comprises of a handspring and two somersaults (i.e. turning twice over in the air) before landing on your feet.
Here is a video montage explaining the Produnova vault and depicting some of the gymnasts who have attempted it with varying degrees of success.
The Produnova vault is named after the Russian gymnast Yelena Produnova. Given the extremely difficult nature of the vault, there have also been calls to ban it from certain sections. There is great risk of the gymnast landing on her neck or spine and doing grave damage to it.
Dipa Karmakar has been executing the Produnova vault since the last couple of years in the international circuit. And she has the results to show for her efforts. Medals in the Commonwealth Games (2014) and Asian Games (2014), a fifth place finish in the World Championships (2015) and finally a gold in the Rio Qualifiers. What a story it would be for a country with almost no history of Gymnastics, if Dipa vaults her way to a medal at Rio.
The Produnova Vault (Wikipedia)
Yelena Produnova (Wikipedia)
Dipa Karmakar (Wikipedia)
Indian Gymnast's Dangerous Leap for Success
Produnova doing the Produnova
Previously on LearnNBlog: Zentangles