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This Badass Gymnast Is One of Only Five to Land "The Vault of Death"


With the Olympics in Rio rapidly approaching, we're getting psyched for the summer games. Not only will we get to see the world's greatest athletes do their thing while us mere mortals watch (and get some kickass gym inspiration...), we'll also get to follow the stories of some of the most badass female athletes on the planet. (Meet the Rio 2016 Olympic Hopefuls You Need to Start Following On Instagram.)

Like Dipa Karmakar, who, at 22-years-old, is one of only five gymnasts (she was the third) on the planet to land a Produnova vault or, as it's better known, "The Vault of Death."


The Produnova vault involves a front handspring followed by two full aerial somersaults—not exactly a move for amateurs. To successfully complete the vault, you need a ton of forward momentum, which means your body is absorbing a ton of force upon landing. And the risk of landing on your neck or spine during the insanely difficult move is huge—so huge that officials are actually talking about banning it from the sport. "It is risky, I know. But to win something, I always knew I had to take a risk," she said in a 2014 interview.

With all that forward momentum, it's no surprise that Karmakar just qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, making her the first female Indian gymnast to qualify for the Olympics. Ever.

She's also the first Indian gymnast of either gender to qualify for the Olympics in 52 years, putting her on the fast track to national stardom. If her momentum so far has been any indication, we can look forward to seeing a lot more of Karmakar on the road to Rio. (Check out 20 Iconic Sports Moments Featuring Female Athletes.)

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