The amanar has become the most important accessory in a gymnastics handbag.
Dont have one? you might as well go back to 2008, you might have stood a chance back then. I wonder did Simona know that she was to become the creator of the most important element of modern gymnastics. When Simona first vaulted the amanar in 2000, a FTY was considered a difficult vault. Her competing an amanar back then would be like a level 8 competing one now. Possible, but why bother?
In the 2005-2008 code when difficulty became the most important part of artistic gymnastics the amanar became more and more desirable. In the 2008 Olympics 6 people competed an Amanar.
Shawn Johonson was one of theses 6 and the only one that was not a vault specialist even though her amanar was one of the best of the bunch. Shawn won the silver medal in the all around behind Nastia Liukin, who only competed a 1&1/2 twisting yerchenko. This was possible because because the 2005-2008 code counted 10 skills on floor exercise, balance beam and the uneven bars. Nastia was able build a lead on Shawn on bars.
Now-a-days, the code only counts 8 skills which means the average start value on a event (other than vault) is 6.5. If your beam floor and bars have a start value around 6.5 and your vault a 5.8 you know where you need to improve. Having the 6.5 difficulty on vault can give a gymnast a huge advantage in an all around competition.
In 2010 Russia brought the Amanar back onto the world stage. Their Stars Alyia Mustafina and Tatiana Nabieva set the stage with these vaults, although their form was messy and the vaults were pretty ugly looking at best, the brought in huge scores. Scores that won Russia the Team title and Alyia Mustafina the All Around title.
At the 2010 Worlds, the silver medalists USA brought no Amanars. But left many 2012 eligible Junior gymnasts at home with them.
At Junior Nationals, Mckayla Maroney and Jordyn Wieber competed amanars that put the Russians to shame.
Fast forward to 2011 Worlds, The USA were the team with the amanars, 2 to be exact. and Russia had none.
In this competition, the USA won the team gold (with amanars) and Russia took silver (no amanars)
In the All Around competition, Jordyn Wieber won the gold (with an amanar) and Viktoria Komova took the silver (no amanar)
This was a complete turn around from the 2010 worlds.
Of course, it wasn’t all amanar that won the title for the USA. Jordyn Wieber was a important factor competing on all four events for the team, and Mckayla Maroneys…. Amanar.
Oh, and Russia didnt have Alyia Mustafina or her… Amanar. And Tatiana was unable to compete her… Amanar due to a hamstring injury…
In London in 37 days its impossible to say how many amanars will turn up, Russia claim to have some, and Romania say they have some too. USA are capable of sending a team with 5 Amanars (Jordyn, Mckayla, Aly, Gabby, Kyla)
But, the only thing that is certain is that Amanars will play a huge part in who walks away with Gold and who takes silver.