She's blazing a trail for other athletes like her to follow suit

By Macaela Mackenzie
July 21, 2016
Carl Court/Getty Images

The Games in Rio are right around the corner, and we're super pumped to see the world's best athletes compete on the Olympic stage. If you have an eye on gymnastics this year-competing against Gabby Douglas, Simone Biles, and the rest of the kickass chicks on Team U.S.A.-you'll notice Dipa Karmakar, the first ever female gymnast from India to qualify for the Olympic Games and represent her country.

Not only did Karmakar blow history out of the water when she became the first ever (ever!) female gymnast to qualify from her country, she's also the first gymnast of any gender to compete for her country since 1964-no biggie, right?

During her final qualifying performance, Karmakar landed the Produnova vault, which is a handspring double front vault named for the first gymnast to successfully stick it, Yelena Produnova. It's one of the toughest moves in the sport (It carries a difficulty rating of 7.0) and she's told an Olympics reporter that she is one of only five women to pull it off.

Despite her great success, she's staying focused on the task at hand and scouting out her competition in Rio. Chief among the contenders for a gold medal on the vault are Simone Biles, the reigning three-time individual all-around world champion, Russia's Maris Paseka, the 2015 world and European vault champion and Oksana Chusovitina, who at 41 with six Olympic competitions already under her belt, will be the oldest gymnast and most seasoned Olympian to compete again Karmakar. (Get to know the Rio-bound U.S. Women's Gymnastics Team with these 8 interesting facts about the ladies.

No matter who ends up taking home gold, it's clear that we have a field full of talented women to watch who are blazing trails for female athletes everywhere. (ICYMI: One prime example? Ibtihaj Muhammad is the first American female fencer to wear a hijab.)


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