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From medical miracles to courageous feats of strength, 2011 was a year filled with awe-inspiring events, individuals, and inventions. The Greatist Team looks back on this extraordinary year in health and fitness through the images that most inspired us.
Duck, dive, dodge! On September 21, UC Irvine earned their second dodgeball world record with 4,488 participants getting in on the action. Photo: Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times
As part of her Let’s Move! Campaign, First Lady Michelle Obama hit the South Lawn of the White House with local school kids in attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most people doing jumping jacks in a 24-hour period. Cardio never looked so fun! Photo: Olivier Douliery/ABACA
At it since 1960, 91-year-old Bernice Bates is officially the world's oldest yoga instructor. Talk about practice! Photo: Matt May/Guinness World Records
Named one of Popular Science magazine’s top inventions of 2011, this no-touch system tracks and displays users’ heart rates in real time without the need for external sensors. Healthy see, healthy do! Photo: photos.siggraph.org
Forget the lap pool. On August 30, 70-year-old Roger Allsopp became the oldest man to swim the English Channel. The journey from Dover, England, to Calais, France took him 17 hours and 51 minutes. Photo: Gareth Fuller, PA/Landov
Brandi Chastain’s famous sports bra celebration was so 1999. After an unbelievable comeback, the U.S. Women’s National Team celebrated their advancement to the 2011 World Cup semifinals, beating Brazil 5-3 in a penalty shootout. Photo: Scott Heavey/Getty Images
Danica Mae Camacho got more than the usual welcome wagon. The Philippines’ symbolic 7 billionth baby, little Danica was delivered in Manila on October 31st. Photo: Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images
“Food Prices — From Crisis to Stability.” That was the theme for World Food Day 2011, a worldwide event dedicated to increasing awareness of world hunger and bringing meals to those in need, including the children of the Turkana Region of Kenya (pictured above). Photo: blog.childfund.org
The oldest man alive might also be the most serene. On April 19th, Jiroemon Kimura quietly celebrated his 114th birthday at his home near Kyoto, Japan. Photo: AP/Kyotango City Office
Knowledge is power! Chosen as one of Time magazine’s best innovations of 2011, UNICEF’s Digital Drum may not make music, but the sustainable, solar-powered kiosks are making information more accessible with selections relating to health, education, and protection from violence and abuse. Over the next two years, UNICEF Uganda aims to install more than 100 additional kiosks throughout the country. Photo: UNICEF Uganda/Jeremy Green
Sloan Churman was born deaf and for 29 years relied on hearing aids and reading lips. But all that changed when she received a hearing implant. Watch the sheer joy she experiences after turning it on for the first time. Photo: YouTube.com
Amber Miller ran the Chicago Marathon days before her due date, then gave birth to her baby just hours later. This was her third time running a marathon while pregnant, and her second marathon during this pregnancy. Crazy? Maybe. Totally inspirational? Absolutely. Photo: Chuck Berman/Chicago Tribune
Australian weightlifter Malek Chamoun trains in his garage for the 2011 World Weightlifting Championships in Paris. The most remarkable part: Chamoun was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at the age of seven and was declared legally blind by 15. Photo: Brett Costello/The Daily Telegraph
Earning every inch of his nickname, South Africa’s “Bladerunner” Oscar Pistorius, a double amputee, competed in the men’s 400m semifinal at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea. Photo: Mark Blinch/Reuters
After what can only be described as a miraculous recovery, Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords returned to Washington on October 6th to attend a Navy retirement ceremony for her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly. This was Giffords’ second visit to the Capitol since she was shot through the head in a Tuscon shooting spree that killed six people and wounded 12 others. Photo: David Lienemann/AP/The White House
What did we miss? Tell us which health and fitness stories moved you in the comments below.