How To Vault Your Way To Gold

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.


New Vault Scoring Explained!

Many times i’ve read gymnastics blogs and forums and went ‘What??’ at some of the stuff about the code, so now i’m going to explain the draft of the New Vault rules for the next quad, so everyone can understand! Here is how the scoring has changed: (were going to use McKayla Maroney as an example in this post)

Current Code:

Vault 1: D score 6.5   E score 9.3      Vault 1  score: 15.8

Vault 2: D score 5.6  E score 9.2      Vault 2 score 14.8

FINAL SCORE: 15.8+14.8/2= 15.8


Proposed code:

Vault 1: D score 6.5   E score 9.3      Vault 1  score: 15.8

Vault 2: D score 5.6  E score 9.2      Vault 2 score 14.8

(Difficulty Value Of Vault 1 + Difficulty Value Of Vault 2)/2 + 10.00 – (Vault 1 execution  deductions + Vault 2 execution deductions) = Final score

(6.5+5.6=12.1)/2+10 – (0.7+0.8=) = 14.55

Now this seems really difficult, but basically it putting more of an influence on the execution of a vault, so we might see less chucked vaults in vault finals!


The Age Of Gymnastics.

Gymnastics is a sport traditionally associated with young girls. Until now.

When you hear: Chellise Memmel, Alicia Sacramone,  Beth Tweddle,  and Oksana Chusovitina, You think ‘Talented gymnasts‘ (well, you should anyway.)

But, these women aged 24, 24, 27 and 36 are technically long past their gymnastics ‘peak’ years, but are still some of the most consistent gymnasts in the world. Although only one of them is still competing The All Around (Chellsie Memmel is a boss) Alicia, Beth, And Oksana each have their signature event

For Oksana its vault. Shes won 9 medals in World Championships between 1991 and 2011. She currently performs the handspring laid-out Rudi (which is named after her in the Code of Points) and a Tsukahara with a 1½ or a double twist. she is the only top female vaulter in the world that doesn’t preform a Yurchenko style vault. She is also the only female gymnast to compete in 5 Olympics. So, 30 years of competing, 18 international Medals and three different countrys to compete for! Oksana Chusovitina is a front runner for a medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics at the age of 36.

Alicia Sacramone, Also A Vault Specialist (Although she is more than capable of preforming well on Floor and Beam) Alicia is the 2010 world vault champion and has won a total of 11 medals in World Championships and Olympics (She’s the most decorated American Gymnast) After tearing her Achilles in the 2011 Worlds Alicia chances of making the Olympic team are dampened. Alicia’s been competing at the Elite level for over ten years. And has a total of 17 National Medals and 8 of them are Gold

Beth Tweddle is Floor and Uneven Bars specialist and at age 27 Beth has won 16 world and European Medals, 9 of them are gold and 10 are for the uneven bars. 13 of these medals have been won in her twenties. Beth is also the favorite to win gold in the London Olympics. She’s more than 10 years older than her biggest threat, Viktoria Komova.

Some of the strongest and most successful gymnasts in this generation are in their twenties, also including Shawn Johnson, Jade Barbosa, Vanessa Ferrari and Bridget Sloan.

This just proves that no matter what age you are, if you have the fight and determination it takes, you can be a successful gymnast.

Tribute To Alexandra Raisman.

Love her or hate her (and guess what? I love her!) Alexandra is one of the best, most consistent and talented gymnasts in The USA, screw that, the World right now.
She gave to USA on 3 key events in team finals last year in Tokyo and most likely, she can do that again in London.
She now has an amanar vault and its a good one too!
And her floor?
Her first pass is eye-brow-lifting-what-the-hell-saying frickin’ awesome. 1&1/2 twist to arabian double front to punch front. Even saying it is tiring! Okay, she may lack in the artistry and leaps and blah, blah, blah but really, a floor routine is about amazing tumbling! Remember the first time you saw a gymnastics floor routine, and how impressed and shocked you were a the tumbling that’s what a floor routine is about!
Don’t get me wrong here, I love me some pretty artistry in a floor routine.
But if I had to choose?
Amazing tumbling trumps pretty artistry.
Now with that out of the way
Her beam is one of the best in the world right now too! (Another 4th place finish at world. Disappointment!)
And she throws her patterson dismount with ease (Ya hear that, Rebecca?)
Now with all this praise of Aly, were probably gonna have to mention the bad points.
Uneven Bars
Don’t get me wrong, she’s clean here. But I can’t see Martha putting her on this event for team finals. (Unless she’s totally lost the plot.) The bars held her back at worlds too. Did I mention fourth place finish after a fall on bars?
She’s not bad, like I said she can be clean enough but she lacks the sparkle, and height of someone like Douglas or Liukin.
To finish up, I just want to say Alexandra is one of my favourite and most exciting gymnast in the USA and I hope she gets the Gold she deserves in London.

Lets Talk About Rebecca.

Let’s go back to 2009.
She was the star of USA gymnastics. Pressure for her to continue the WOGA olympic All Around legacy started.
High difficulty and a strength on uneven bars made Rebecca just what USA needed.
A fresh face, a new ‘It Girl’ when the country needed one.
But then go to world championships, where she didn’t win the All-Around like she was expected to do.
A crash on her final floor pass lost it. Did the pressure of what she nearly had scare her?
On to 2010 and finally a national champion. But a new challenge, a russian mountain to climb call Alyia Mustafina. Injury plagued her in the All Around Competition and a fall from the balance beam sealed the deal of only a bronze medal.
Yet again Rebecca fell short of her World Championship expectations.

But she re-mounted the balance beam, Got back in the gym, trained the same skill she fell on. Why? Because she wasn’t finished yet.

Nearly a year later Rebecca came near to ending her gymnastics career at nationals attempting a vault she wasn’t ready for after an injury at 2011 nationals. A dislocated knee that required surgery and she has to sit out the rest of the season. Including worlds.
2012 is the year for Rebecca’s comeback. And so far, she’s doing good. Throwing full difficulty, even with falls, her comeback and strong and powerful, just as you would expect from Rebecca.
But the Question remains, with younger talents coming up in the ranks like Wieber and Komova, Can Rebecca Do the big one and win the All Around in London, when noones expecting it?