To say that Jalyessa Walker "broke" the world record for most consecutive backflips might be shortchanging her just a little bit. "Destroyed" or "pulverized" might be more like it.
Walker needed 36 flips to top the old mark.
She nailed 49 and was ready to keep going.
"I wish I didn't run out of room so I could have done 50," Walker told the El Paso Times. "As soon as I hit the concrete, I was starting to get tired and scared because I didn't want to fall."
Walker was on familiar ground for her performance. A former cheerleader at University of Texas at El Paso, Walker went for the record at halftime of the UTEP-Rice football game and covered the length of the field.
The previous record of 35 was set in October by 16-year-old high school cheerleader Miranda Ferguson, also of Texas.
Walker, a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, said she only had a month to train. After graduating UTEP in the spring, she went to Fort Lee, Va., for the Basic Officer Leadership Course, which kept her from practicing.
"I really had to work on my cardio because my legs would get tired," she told the Times.
Walker's record won't become official until the Guinness authorities sign off, but with video documentation and more than 20,000 eyewitnesses, that seems to be just a formality.
Walker, who started gymnastics when she was 4, was simple and direct when explaining why she went for the record: "I like challenges."
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