Gymnastics News Network
By: Nicole Chappell
With the start of the event finals competition today, the top eight gymnasts from the vault qualifying round took to the stadium to perform their hearts out, hoping to earn a medal at the Rio Olympics. Gymnasts that competed in today’s vault final included Simone Biles, Hong UnJong, Shallon Olsen, Wang Yan, Maria Paseks, Dipa Karmakar, Giulia Steingruber and Oksana Chusovitna. Each gymnast competed two vaults from different families, meaning the vault entry must differ from the other (i.e. tsukahara vs. yurchenko). With such an exhilarating competition and women determined for gold, we have concluded who or what was flippin’ or floppin’ based on today’s standings.
- Throwing BIG Skills
With a gold medal on the line and Simone Biles almost a shoe-in for first place, some gymnasts such as Dipa Karmakar, Jong UnJong and Oksana Chusovitna decided to “go big or go home”. And that is just what they did! Although each took a fall on one of their two vaults, they both decided to compete vaults that they do not normally compete in order to raise their start values and difficulty. The more difficult the skill, the higher the start value, which means a higher opportunity to earn top scores. Taking the chance that performing such complex vaults could result in a fall or possibly an injury due to lack of training, they made a choice to take that chance anyways. We have to give kudos to these women for going above and beyond their abilities to achieve their Olympic dreams.
- Simone Biles
As expected, Simone Biles was a joy to watch in the event vault finals. She competed the Amanar, known as the most difficult vault to currently exist in the sport of gymnastics and executed it to perfection. With stunning height and gorgeous lines, Simone was able to clench a first place win with an average score of 15.966! Congrats to our Olympic Vault Champion!
- Oksana Chusovitna
Just the fact that Oksana is back for her seventh Olympic Games is a feat in itself! At the age of 41, this gymnast has spent more than 30 years in the sport and even qualified for the vault finals over young women half her age. She gave it her all, and although it wasn’t enough to medal, she gets a flip from us! We hope to see her in 2020!
- Olympic Firsts
Competitor Dipa Kamakar is the first ever gymnast to represent India in an Olympic event final. Despite a fall on one vault, she was able to earn a score of 15.066 and earn a fourth place spot. For Giuliana Steingruber of Switzerland, her incredible performance not only earned her a bronze medal in the vault finals, but became the first Swiss gymnast to ever medal in an Olympic Games. What an accomplishment!
- NBC Olympic Coverage on Livestream
Throughout the 2016 Rio Olympics, televised coverage of the games has been hit or miss for the sport of gymnastics. Being able to see all eight vault qualifiers compete both vaults today, while also getting insight into their gymnastics backgrounds and accomplishments was a treat in itself!
- So Many Falls
With a fight for the gold, many of the eight gymnasts decided to compete a second vault which was set at a much higher difficulty level than what they are used to performing. Because of this, we witnessed many falls, stumbles, and rolls coming out of their landings. Hong UnJong stumbled and fell backwards, while Shallon Olsen from Canada had a knee touch the mat. As mentioned above, Oksana and Dipa also had falls by either roll or squat which cost them each a position in the top three rankings.
- Tank-Style Leotards
We were not impressed with the few tank style leotards we saw at the event vault finals. With the Olympics being a once in a lifetime experience, it was somewhat surprising that gymnasts like Hong and Oksana did not wear the normal competition style attire of a long-sleeve leotard. If you have seen Oksana compete in the past, you may know that the tank style is her chosen look, however many gymnastics fans were less than impressed. In the sport of gymnastics, appearance is important to portray a look of beauty and professionalism. To me, the tank-style leotards were a definite flop.
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