Entertainment
Gymnast takes 1st place with incredible gymwheel routine
I can't even begin to imagine how much strength it takes to make it wobble like that. My abs were burning just watching her.
Ashleigh Schalkwyk
01.04.22

Gymnasts have a graceful way of moving that puts us non-flexibles to shame. That’s why the whole world loves watching their fascinating performances at the Olympic Games.

But did you know that there’s a less well-known offshoot of this popular sport that involves a giant wheel?

Acrobats in giant hamster wheels.

Wikimedia Commons
Source:
Wikimedia Commons

That’s what this looks like.

In 1925, a German railway worker named Otto Feick invented the giant wheel that’s made up of two circular bars, six spokes, and hand and foot rails attached to the inside.

The wheel, called a “Rhönrad,” was mainly used in circus acts, but riding the wheel quickly became a competitive sport.

The “gymwheel” was born.

It’s called wheel gymnastics, and it’s absolutely mesmerizing to watch.

YouTube/BTVRhoenrad
Source:
YouTube/BTVRhoenrad

These contraptions may look like giant hamster wheels for humans, but being able to perform in one takes a lot of flexibility and core strength.

Combine the wheel with a gymnast’s acrobatics and you have a performance truly like no other.

Much like regular gymnastics, there are three main categories in this competitive sport

Straight line, spiral, and vault.

Facebook/Sannah Boer
Source:
Facebook/Sannah Boer

Sannah Boer loves wheel gymnastics, and she has a natural talent for it, too. She was introduced to the sport by a friend and, three weeks later, she was absolutely hooked.

Scouted for the nationals

Sannah was scouted out to join the national team and her career quickly took off from there. Thanks to this video, it’s easy to see why.

YouTube/BTVRhoenrad
Source:
YouTube/BTVRhoenrad

‘I quickly grew to national and then international level. There are not many gymnasts who do wheel gymnastics in the Netherlands. There are far more abroad – especially in Germany,’ Sannah told Resource Online. ‘I have to fund it all myself because the sport is not sponsored. I once started a crowdfunding campaign to be able to go to the World Championships.’

She’s in it to win it.

Sannah was just 16 years old when she became the world champion of the spiral discipline. She bagged first place at the World Gymwheel Championships.

YouTube/BTVRhoenrad
Source:
YouTube/BTVRhoenrad

The video has received more than 11 million views to date.

It begins with Sannah climbing into the giant wheel and securing her feet into place with straps.

She tests that the straps are secure, then she begins to roll inside the wheel.

It only picks up from there.

YouTube/BTVRhoenrad
Source:
YouTube/BTVRhoenrad

Using her arms to gain momentum, Sannah is flipped completely upside down as the wheel continues to roll.

Once she’s going fast enough, she pulls her feet out from the straps that are holding her in place.

Then she does the splits!

It’s unbelievable that she can do all this while the wheel rolls with her in it.

YouTube/BTVRhoenrad
Source:
YouTube/BTVRhoenrad

Sannah says she loves gym wheel because it’s so much fun:

‘I really do wheel gymnastics because it’s such fun but, partly because of aches and pains, I don’t know if I can go on doing this sport for very long,’ she told Resource Online. ‘At the moment, sport comes first, but later I want to go on in the academic world.’

Her performance is thrilling to watch.

YouTube/BTVRhoenrad
Source:
YouTube/BTVRhoenrad

After some stunning acrobatics, Sannah moves her legs to stabilize herself and the wheel begins to slow down until it’s perpendicular to the floor.

Then, she climbs onto the outer rail, flipping the wheel back into an upright position, and jumps off.

See Sannah’s graceful gymwheel performance in the video below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Share this article
By Ashleigh Schalkwyk
hi@sbly.com
Ashleigh Schalkwyk is a contributor at SBLY Media.
Advertisement
Advertisement