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Some of the best vaults ever done…

Did you know that the same tie-breaking controversy between He Kexin and Nastia Liukin on the uneven bars was also played out on men’s vault in Beijing? Unfortunately it didn’t receive as much attention, but here we’re going to take a look at some of the vaults from probably the most spectacular vault final ever and decide for ourselves who deserved the gold.
Between the advent of the vaulting table back in 2001 along with the specialist-favored formats of international competition nowadays, we’ve seen some real dare-devils emerge on this event over the last several years – at least on the men’s side. Below we’ll look at some of the biggest and best vaults ever done – all from the 2008 Olympic Games. Aside from the well-known superstars like Marian Dragulescu, I feel like some of these guys don’t quite get enough recognition. So we’re going to give it to them now!
Marian Dragulescu Vault 2008 Olympics EF
In case you forgot that this was not the first time he showed near perfection on the most daring vault ever done:
Marian Dragulescu Vault 2004 Olympics EF
The odds of that happening twice! In Athens, he was still generously given the bronze, while in Beijing his face-planted second vault landed him in 4th. To the excitement of many, it has just been announced that Dragulescu, who initially retired earlier this year, WILL be competing at the upcoming world championships. Many of you may remember he also made somewhat of a last-minute comeback for the 2008 Games after previously announcing a retirement. His presence always adds some welcomed drama to the men’s individual competition on both floor and vault.
Kyle Shewfelt Vault 2008 Olympics Qualification
Beautiful! That’s one of the very few STUCK Yurchenko 2 ½’s I can EVER recall seeing. He makes it look extremely easy and shows beautiful form as well. Unfortunately Shewfelt ended up as an alternate to the finals in Beijing for both of his specialties – floor and vault.
And now for the controversy! I’m going to show you the three vault medalists in THE ORDER IN WHICH THEY COMPETED in the finals Beijing. Decide for yourselves how they should have ended up on the podium:
Anton Golotsutskov Vault 2008 Olympics EF
Beautiful form on that handspring double front half! I can’t believe he actually keeps his knees close together on that! And I love the way he does the half twist slightly earlier – it gives it a unique look.
Thomas Bouhail Vault 2008 Olympics EF
Incredible vaults! Both were landed extremely well, and as with Golotsutskov, both were out of a 7.0. The decision here comes down to the execution. Amazing that he actually threw the handspring double front half for the second vault!
Leszek Blanik Vault 2008 Olympics EF
You’ll notice he does have slightly bent knees on both vaults…but you gotta hand it to him – that first vault was completely unheard of just a few years ago. So who do you think deserved the gold out of these three???
Here were the actual results. Since all six of the vaults were out of a 7.0, I’ll just show the execution scores:
Medal
Gymnast
Vault 1
Vault 2
Average
Gold
Blanik
9.6
9.475
9.537
Silver
Bouhail
9.575
9.5
9.537
Bronze
Golotsutskov
9.5
9.45
9.475
Hmmm….well first of all, a tie-breaking procedure gave Blanik the gold over Bouhail. But the question is…did he deserve to even be tied with him. And how about Golotsutskov’s second vault scoring lower than Blanik’s second vault, despite having better form and a better landing on the Tsuk double pike??? Let’s hear your thoughts!
Li Xiaopeng Vault 2008 Olympics Team Finals
What a spectacular gymnast! He didn’t perform a second vault in the qualifications and thus couldn’t advance to the finals, although he did go on to win the parallel bars gold.
Yang Wei Vault 2008 Olympics Team Finals
Almost stuck cold!!! Not only is that one of the most difficult vaults to land that well, but he stays perfectly in line and pretty much keeps his legs and feet together the whole time. That’s one of the most impressive vaults I’ve ever seen.
And here are a few stuck vaults from those Games…
Benoit Caranobe Vault 2008 Olympics AA Finals
Interesting that they hardly even make a big deal about him sticking that vault! This was one of the huge scores that helped him win the surprise bronze medal in the all-around. He did make the vault finals, but unfortunately fell on his piked handspring double front and finished 5th.
Matteo Morandi Vault 2008 Olympics Qualification
Jonathan Horton Vault 2008 Olympics Team Finals
Now if only more of the women could follow suit and make vault one of their most spectacular events as well…I’d say bars is dominating the women’s side right now! Will we ever see a woman throw a handspring double front again like Elena Produnova did exactly TEN years ago?