Who’s Who in 2012: The Vaulters

2008 Vault Medalists: Oksana Chusovitina, Hong Un-jong and Cheng Fei (Photo credit: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Vault is an event that can be very confusing if you don’t watch gymnastics regularly. In order to qualify into the vault finals you must do two vaults from different families – meaning two different style vaults. As this takes a whole lot of extra training, most top all arounders choose not to train a second vault. This is why you often will not see a lot of the bigger gymnastics names in the vault finals. Here are your likely medal contenders.

Mckayla Maroney (USA) 15.950 (SV:6.5+6.1=12.6)
McKayla undoubtedly has the best amanar of all time and is on her way to become one of the best female vaulters of all time. She comes in as the reigning world champions, and leads the field in scoring by a point. I addition to high difficulty, McKayla performs her vault with incredible amplitude, perfect form and catlike landings. She is undoubtedly the favorite for gold and unless she has a major mistake (which she has never done on vault) everyone else is competing for silver. 

Oksana Chusovitina (GER)14.966 (SV:6.3+5.5=11.8 )

Oksana seems to be a permanent fixture in vault finals. Over the last 20 years, she has competed in 10 World Championships and five Olympic Games. She has nine world champion vault medals to her name and was the 2008 silver medalist. The 37-year-old is a unique and remarkable woman, continuing to compete at the highest levels at what everyone would say is an impossible age. This year, she took the silver medal at the European Championships. She is a strong contender to add yet another vaulting medal to her collection.

Janine Berger (GER)14.950 (SV:6.3+6.0=12.3 )

Another German to take note of is first-year-senior Janine. She comes in with the third highest start value with two very difficult vaults. She actually beat Oksana  at the German National Championships.

Sandra Izbasa (ROU)14.900 (SV:6.1+5.8=11.9)

Sandra currently comes in with a lower start value than the others. However, this is not likely to be the case at the Olympics. She is rumored to be coming into the Olympics with two 6.5 vaults. Upgrading and an Amanar and a Cheng. We will see what she actually competes, but there is no doubt that she will be in the running for a medal!

Yamilet Peña (DOM)14.800 (SV:7.1+5.8=12.9)

Yamilet comes in with the highest start value, competing what I would say is the most difficult vault a woman can currently do. Here’s the catch. She has only landed it once in competition that I am aware of. If she actually pulls it around, she can challenge for a spot on the podium.

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