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Tension is thick in the arena as the animals warm up for the next event: the balance beam. The apparatus is infamously difficult, testing an athlete’s balance, flexibility and focus. 

The narrow surface area of the beam is unforgiving, limiting gymnasts to a mere 4 inches in width, essentially the size of a toilet paper roll. At 16 feet, 4 inches, the length of the beam offers space for athletes to demonstrate their skills, as long as they keep their feet—and center of gravity—in alignment. 

The top three athletes include medal contenders Alpaca, Llama and Sheep.

Alpacas are graceful on the ground thanks to their padded feet.
Alpacas are graceful on the ground thanks to their padded feet.
Llamas sure-footed and can navigate steep terrain.
Llamas sure-footed and can navigate steep terrain.

Alpaca and Llama, of the camelid family, are cousins that share similar traits. Well-known for their wool, alpacas and llamas are sure-footed animals that navigate steep terrain. Padded feet make Alpaca and Llama exceptionally graceful on the ground.

While Sheep is not quite as agile as its competitors—making it a long shot—the bravest of the flock rounds out the gymnasts. Memories of spending juvenile months fearlessly climbing and frolicking are in the forefront of Sheep’s mind. Accustomed to grazing, sheep prefers the safety of floor exercises. 

First to perform is Alpaca. With a swift approach, alpaca delivers a stellar routine, which is followed by a delicate dismount. 

Next up is Llama. With more muscle and strength than its peers, Llama delivers a powerful performance with a flawless finish.  

Finally, Sheep makes its debut on the beam. After a bobble, Sheep lands a solid set. What sheep lacks in agility, it makes up for in persistence. 

The trio anxiously awaits their scores with high hopes. At last, the judges complete their deliberations to reveal Llama as the gold medal winner with Alpaca taking the silver and Sheep claiming the bronze! 

Take our Heifer Games quiz to see which animals edged out their competitors to win the gold—50 cents will be donated to Heifer for every quiz taken!

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