Despite the ongoing conflict and “constant bombardment,” a Ukrainian youngster set the Guinness World Record (GWR) for the most contortion roll push-ups completed in 30 seconds.
On March 11 in Kyiv, Ukraine, 12-year-old Sofia Tepla did 21 contortion roll push-ups.
In addition to earning a spot in the young achievers chapter of the upcoming GWR 2024 book for her achievement, the now 13-year-old has also previously earned a GWR for an incredible contortion stunt.
She set a record for the quickest time (10.49 seconds) to complete a 20-meter contortion roll on February 10, 2022, on the set of the Italian television show Lo Show Dei Record, which required a back-bending manoeuvre.
Sofia said she wanted to tackle another GWR to inspire others to not lose motivation, even if they face “terrible events”.
“With the beginning of war in our country, I lost the motivation to train so diligently. I felt apathy”, Sofia, who lives in a small town in Ukraine, said.
“But then, I told to myself that it is necessary to continue. I set myself a new goal – to set one more world record.
“I think that by my example, I will inspire other athletes in my country not to lose motivation, even in spite of the terrible events. And I wish them to boldly pursue their dream.”
She noted that the “constant bombardment” made it difficult to conduct training in the gym at first, so she had to practice outside in the cold without electricity until her family could afford a generator, at which point she was allowed to return to the gym.
She developed a fascination for contortion from watching YouTube videos when she was four years old and hopes to become a “famous” circus performer who continues to set records.
When Sofia was seven years old, Sofia’s mother established a circus school where she invited coaches from different places to share their knowledge and even underwent coaching training herself in an effort to ensure that her daughter’s dreams were realized.
Sofia’s daily life has greatly benefited from the abilities she has acquired.
“I use my stretching very often in everyday activities”, she said.
“I can even brush my teeth with my feet when my hands are busy with something else.”
As for advice for those wishing to land a coveted GWR, Sofia said: “You have to believe in yourself. And don’t stop when things don’t work out. Nothing in the world is impossible.”
The Guinness World Records 2024 book is out in September, with the young achievers chapter showcasing exceptional record breakers aged under the age of 16.