Sunday, December 23, 2012

Top Ten: Vault

This is a new series I'm going to do as the calendar year of 2012 wraps up, and we head towards I new quad. I'm going to look back at each event, and pick my top 5 and low 5 for each event (in my opinion).

Important to note, one person will not appear multiple times on the same top or low, i.e. not all of Mckayla's vaults will appear here, only the one I think is best.

With that, I'm going to do these in Olympic order, which means I'll be starting with vault:

Top 5:
1. Mckayla Maroney, Olympic TF

Was there honestly any competition here? This was THE vault of the quad. While it wasn't totally perfect, given the setting and comparing it to everyone else's on that night, this should have gotten a 10 in execution. Still, pure brilliance out there, whether the idiot judges recognized it or not.

2. Ana Porgras, 2011 Worlds AA

This is definitely one of the most under-appreciated vaults of the quad, yet it was beautifully done. Somehow, those idiot judges found nearly a point in deductions. Seriously, who hires these judges? They always manage to find WAY more deductions than actually exist.

3. Aliya Mustafina, 2010 Waalwijk (NED-RUS-ESP-SWE)

Many people have actually not seen this vault before. This was from a small competition between the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Russia that took place shortly before the 2010 World Championships. Yes, her form is not the best (I think we've all harped on that enough), but a stuck Amanar is a stuck Amanar, ESPECIALLY without the extra bounce of a podium.

4. Anastasia Grishina, 2012 Euros EF

Not the most difficult vault, but very nicely done, minus the hop at the end. The Podkopayeva is a nice vault to watch, especially when it's as well done as the lovely Grishina does it.

5. Viktoria Komova, 2012 Olympics QF

Probably one of the better Amanars that she's done in her career. She doesn't get as much height as others, but this is fully rotated, and has an excellent, centered landing. It's even more impressive when you remember that she'd only been training this vault for a few months leading up to the Games. If she hadn't taken those lazy steps off to the side in the AA, she'd be the Olympic AA Champion and we wouldn't have to deal Douglas as the Olympic Champ.

Low 5:
1. Tatiana Nabieva, 2010 Worlds EF

Need I say more? A lovely combination of rancid form the entire way through + short rotation; who could want more? I still laugh when the Russians complain about the judges crediting the vault as a double, not a 2.5 - that vault was clearly at least 1/4 of a turn short.

2. Maria Paseka, 2012 Olympic TF

This was just a complete, fucking mess. She twists wayyyy early off the horse, terrible form, and of course the two huge, staggering steps off to the side. She can do this vault better - it was better in QF and EF, but this was just all over the place. Frankly, I'm not sure this vault would have helped more than a beam specialist.

3. Alexandra Raisman, 2012 Visa Championships Day 2

There is just so much wrong with this. The awful form, the uncontrolled landing, and of course her complete under-rotation of this vault. That vault is in no way, shape, or form a full 2 and 1/2 twists around. I frankly don't know why she bothered with this hot fuck of a mess of a vault. She was risking an injury every time she competed this vault, the team didn't use her score in the Olympics, and she didn't even compete it in TF. This vault scored a 15.3, when her DTY at Worlds last year hit as a high as a 15.233.

4. Sandra Izbasa, 2012 Olympic EF

After the whole debacle in the 2010 VT EF, you'd think she at least do this vault properly laid out. No - her knees are bent for at least the second 1/2 twist, if not longer. When she wasn't splatting in the EF, Mckayla Maroney showed how to properly do this vault. Which brings me to....

5. Mckayla Maroney, 2012 Olympic EF

Quite possibly the worst moment of the entire Olympics. I myself gasped out loud while watching it live when she fell. I'll admit, I was one of many who had basically declared her the 2012 Olympic Vault Champion before the event actually happened. I still believe, along with many others, that she is no question the best vaulter in the world. Unfortunately this happened on the day it counted the most. Just as she described it herself, she clearly did not get the block she needed here, which is why her feet slipped out from under her before she could even attempt to fight for the landing. A real shame. Just to show what this vault looks like when she does it in her usual amazing way:

Well, that's it for the Top Ten of Vault. Keep your eyes out for the Top Ten of Bars! Given the multitude of amazing bar routines from this quad, it'll be hard to only select the 5 best.
Happy Holidays!

- IllusionSpin

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