Are The Russians Training 17-Day-Old Babies To Be Gymnasts?

Last month, a video emerged of a woman swinging a baby around her head. Mommy blogs around the world erupted in disgust and disbelief, and the general consensus was that it had to be a hoax. Well, it's not.

It's apparently part of a widespread practice in Russia called "dynamic baby gymnastics" — and if you'll allow me to speculate openly? The Soviet Union/Unified Team has 200 Olympic medals (81 gold, 72 silver, 47 bronze) in gymnastics — more than double the amount of any other country in history. Since Russia began competing in 1994, they've won 26 medals. Could it have anything to do with the fact that some Russian babies lose their arm sockets completely before they're able to walk? And are computers going to beat us in war because of concussions? I don't know, either!

Oleg Tyutin is a psychotherapist who has trained Russian mothers in the baby-gymnast practice for 20 years. "When they're born, babies are very tense," he told BBC News. "They're frightened by the wide, open space around them. This procedure helps a baby adapt to their new surroundings. It makes infants more open, more sociable, more relaxed. It also helps them develop more quickly." And into freakishly flexible Olympian gymnasts.

Baby gymnastics: Russia's 'potentially dangerous' therapy [BBC]