Contortionist Sofie Dossi is back! Returning to the America's Got Talent stage to compete on the new Champions spinoff, the 17-year-old gymnast first made a name for herself on the show in 2016 for doing all sorts of dangerous acts while bending her body in super-human ways.
So, how does she do it? Does Sofie Dossi even have a spine?!
While the answer to the second question is obviously "yes," the reason she's able to pose like a human pretzel is a bit more complicated. According to , M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at , some people really are just born with it — "it" being more elastic ligaments, joint capsules, tendons, and various muscles. Given that who began performing within a year of picking up the art, it's safe to assume that she falls into this category.
"In general, people who are really flexible have loose joints," Dr. Fischer explains. "The joints are in tact, the spine is in tact, they're just able to exceed the normal ranges of motion." While there are certain conditions that make some people more bendy than others (, for example), Dr. Fischer says you don't necessarily have to have a medical issue to be really flexible.
Of course, this isn't to say that Sofie hasn't worked super hard to get where she is. But training aside, Dr. Fischer makes it clear that everyone has a certain "degree of flexibility" that they can reach in their lifetime. Pushing those limits too far can result in ruptures, sprains, and overall intense back pain. (So, um, don't try Sofie's moves at home, okay?)
As for those with naturally insane flexibility like Sofie, as long as they're not feeling any pain, contorting the back into odd-looking shapes isn't necessarily harmful.
"They're not doing anything bad. For joints where you're dislocating and relocating to perform tricks, however, is not recommended," Dr. Fischer declares. "The worry [with dislocating and relocating] is that the body can only make scar cartilage, and we can't replace old cartilage."
The bottom line: Assuming Sofie isn't in chronic pain, she's not doing anything harmful to her body. She and her spine (which, again, she most definitely has, people!), are just really, really amazing.