Vault (gymnastics)

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The vault is an artistic gymnastics apparatus, as well as the skill performed using that apparatus. Vaulting is also the action of performing a vault. Both male and female gymnasts perform the vault. The English abbreviation for the event in gymnastics scoring is VT.

Contents

The apparatus

The apparatus itself originated as a "horse", much like the pommel horse but without the handles; it was sometimes known as the vaulting horse. The horse was set up with its long dimension perpendicular to the run for women, and parallel for men.[1] The vaulting horse was the apparatus used in the Olympics for over a century, beginning with the Men's vault in the first modern Olympics and ending with the Men's and Women's gymnastics at the 2000 Olympics.

The horse has been blamed for several serious accidents over the years. In 1988, American Julissa Gomez was paralyzed in a vaulting accident; she died from complications from her injuries three years later.[2] During warmups at the 1998 Goodwill Games, Chinese gymnast Sang Lan fell and suffered paralysis from a cervical-spine injury.[3] In series of crashes when the horse's height was set too low[4] at the 2000 Olympics, gymnasts either rammed into the horse's front end, or had bad landings after having problems with their hand placements during push-off.

Following the 2000 problems, International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) re-evaluated and changed the apparatus, citing both safety reasons and the desire to facilitate more impressive acrobatics.[1] The 2001 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships were the first international competition to make use of the "vaulting table", an apparatus made by Dutch gymnastics equipment company Janssen-Fritsen since the mid-1990s. It features a flat, larger, and more cushioned surface almost parallel to the floor, which slopes downward at the end closest to the springboard; gymnasts nicknamed it the "tongue";[1] it appears to be somewhat safer than the old apparatus.[5]

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