McKayla Maroney – the Princess of Poise


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Photo by John Cheng

McKayla has gone through so much in the past year, it truly is quite amazing that she is not only at Worlds, but has improved since last year. Three surgeries, media frenzy, meme fame and a changed life. She has made no bones that she has some unfinished business called doing her best at the Olympic vault finals. So between now and then, she will give gymnastics her all.

Though vaulting is what she shines at, she really wants to be an all-arounder. And floor is her favorite event. So it was incredibly meaningful for her to be able to compete all around in the qualifications. She didn’t have her most spectacular day, but she did really well.

She started her day out on floor. She had a number of small bobbles on her landings and her leaps weren’t quite all the way split. But it was really a great routine. Many on the gymternet felt like she was really underscored here.

After seeing her INCREDIBLE vault in podium training, this amanar was anticlimactic. But it was a normal, amazing vault from McKayla.

Her second vault however, was one of her better ones.

McKayla is not known for her bars. But this was most definitely one of the best bar routines she has ever done!

On the other hand, this beam routine was most definitely not her best. Getting into the swing of competing beam again often takes some time.

As always, the highlight of the day was McKayla’s interview. Such poise, so much authenticity, and so much grace. i fall more in love with this girl every interview.

She only qualified into the vault finals, being another victim of the 2 per country rule on both floor (where she tied with Kyla Ross but the tie was broken with Kyla’s higher E score) and the all around (where she placed 5th in the world).

World Podium Breakdown – Vault


As has been the case since her entry into the senior ranks, McKayla Maroney is the heavy favorite to win the Vault Championship. McKayla is firmly committed to training through the whole quad and making the Rio Olympic team. Wouldn’t it be an incredible feat for her to win Vault gold every year along the way? Though it seems ludicrous in the sport of gymnastics, It is an actual possibility for McKayla. The fluke fall on vault that lead to one of the most popular memes ever, that lead to a hunger and desire to compete four more years may have been one of the best things that ever happened to McKayla- and to gymnastics fans. Because most likely, it WAS a fluke that will not happen again. And as long as she continue in gymnastics, McKayla will grace us with the most incredible vaulting display we are likely to see.

For those of you that have never seen McKayla vault in person, let me assure you that it is one of the most magical things you have ever seen in gymnastics. Cameras just cannot capture the speed and power with which she gracefully barrels down the vault runway. The explosion that is McKayla coming off of the vaulting table. And the way she continues to gain height as she twists through the air. There is nothing else like it.

Simone Biles comes in a close second to McKayla. To look at her, it would seem that she could out power anyone in the world. And she almost can… anyone but McKayla that is. Simone doesn’t get quite the explosion that McKayla gets, but she makes up for it in her catlike landings. Though she has yet to do it in a competition, I have seen her stick two amanars cold in warm ups. Simone will make a definite run for the podium.

Next up as a vault contender is Hong Un Jong from North Korea. Hong Un Jong won the 2008 Olympic gold medal competing the same difficult vaults she will be competing at Worlds. It is amazing to think that she is still capable of that level of competition! She actually comes in with the most difficulty that will be completed. If she is able to compete them cleanly, she will be a front runner

Other contenders are:

Giulia Steingruber of Switzerland

Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan

Ellie Black of Canada

Watch 2013 U.S. Secret Classic Vault Champions


Seniors

As far as I can tell, only two seniors performed two different vaults, the necessary qualification for vault event finals in any major international competition.

Vault Champion – McKayla Maroney  (15.6)

Coming back as strong as ever, McKayla competed her gravity defying Amanar and the Mustafina.  She won with a 15.6

Vault Silver – MyKayla Skinner (15.25)

Making her senior debut, MyKayla competed two strong vaults. A Cheng – now worth more than an amanar- and a DTY. She definitely has the potential to be  a strong vault contender.

Juniors

No juniors perform two vaults, so the vaulting scores are just made up of their primary vault.

Vault Champion – Nia Dennis (15.25)

Nia showed power and amplitude everywhere she went, and vault was no different!

Vault Silver – Ariana Agrapides (15.1)

This little girl has a big vault! As a brand new elite who just started competing this vault, it will be fun to see what she can do.

Vault Bronze – Emily Schild (15.0)

Definitely a strong vaulter, Emily led the competition with this vault for the first round.

Vault Bronze – Bailie Key (15.0)

For such a slight, small girl, Bailie has a great vault! No doubt as she grows it will just get better.