Why Do some Girls Go Twice on Vault?

Alicia Sacramone on Vault. Photo credit: Reuters

In a World Championship or Olympic Vault Finals, gymnasts must show two different types of vaults coming from two different vault “families.” This simply means that they are different types of vaults, not just different variations of the same vault. This is actually very difficult to learn and takes a lot of extra training time. As a result, only gymnasts who are very good on vault tend to train two vaults.

This is why though Jordyn Wieber scores very well on her vault, she will never qualify for vault finals. In the USA, only McKayla Maroney, Alicia Sacramone and Brandie Jay compete two different vaults. With Sacramone retiring and Jay heading off to college gymnastics, the USA will only have the possibility of Maroney representing in the vault finals in the near future.

Though the USA is far and above the best vaulting team in the world, we will be hard pressed to see many vault finals medals in the near future. Gymnasts who make the team tend to be all arounders. And so many of our all arounders have a great first vault. Taking the training time to train a second vault takes away from training other events. And unless you can beat out all the other great all arounders on vault, you just won’t make the team. Unless you are McKayla Maroney. But when you are not only the reigning World Champion, but one of the best vaulters of all time, normalcies don’t really apply.

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