Incredible Gymnast Sets World Record With 20 Foot Back Flip
Cailyn Finkel 11/26/2018
Most of us would be happy if we could hop over a short fence without totally eating it. But imagine flinging your body nearly 20 feet without wavering - and doing so completely backward. Well, that's exactly what one British gymnast managed to do and now his feat is being celebrated around the world.
With his impressive horizontal bar backflip, 26-year-old Ashley Watson broke the Guinness World Record. The heartstopping jump is something everyone should see at least once in their lives!
Even though most people are aware of the horizontal bar, also called the high bar, many of us are completely unaware of the man who made modern-day gymnastics possible. According to Britannica, Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, a German man born on August 11, 1778, is credited with creating the high bar and many of today's most popular gymnastics-related activities. After studying theology, history and philology at several universities in Germany as a young man, Friedrich settled down in Berlin.
Britannica says that's where his passion for physical activity and gymnastics really blossomed:
"There he began a program of outdoor physical exercise for students. He invented the parallel bars, the rings, the balance beam, the horse, and the horizontal bar, which became standard equipment for gymnastics. He established a strong following among both youths and adults and in 1811 opened his first gymnastics club.
In 1813 Jahn joined the volunteer Lützow corps and commanded its third battalion until after the fall of Napoleon in 1815, returning then to Berlin and resuming work as a state teacher at his gymnastic club. 'Deutsche Turnkunst zur Einrichtung der Turnplätze' (A Treatise on Gymnastics, 1828), written with Ernst Eiselen, was published in 1816."
Friedrich's vision for the sport spread far and wide - now it's an international phenomenon which draws in some of the world's most talented athletes. People like Simone Biles, Paul Hamm, Shawn Johnson, Mitchell Gaylord, Gabby Douglas and many more are given the chance to whip, contort and flip their bodies like no other sport allows.
This type of physical freedom is one of the reasons why Ashley Watson loves the high bar. He can slingshot himself more than a dozen feet without flinching while spectators watch with bated breath from the sidelines. Ashley not only wanted to test his abilities by setting a new Guinness World Record, but he also wanted to have some fun!
Ashley set the high bars 5.87m (19 feet 3.1 inches) away from one another and asked his friend to record the trial. He told BBC that he nailed the jump on his sixth try, but noticed that his legs weren't precisely straight in the film. It was time to try again!
Fortunately, he was able to nail the feat a second time. Ashley admitted to BBC that the jump itself was a blur:
"It was amazing, I didn't realize I had caught it until I was swinging around on the other bar."
Congratulations, Ashley! We can't wait to see what other records you can break in the future.