Posts Tagged ‘vault’

Vault and Rings: The Great Divide

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Muscles are made up of two kinds of fibres: fast-twitch and slow-twitch. Fast-twitch muscle fibres are responsible for explosive movement, while slow-twitch muscles allow for static strength and endurance. Our muscles are usually made up of about 50% fast-twitch and 50% slow-twitch fibres. Athletes who possess a greater proportion of fast-twitch muscles excel in sports such as sprinting, while those with more slow-twitch muscles excel in sports like cross-country running.

How do these different muscle types factor in to gymnastics? Well, vault, for example, requires fast-twitch muscles for the sprinting down the runway and for an explosive block off the table. Still rings, on the other hand, require slow-twitch muscles in order to hold the strength elements for a minimum of two seconds.

Men’s Gymnastics: 7.0 – 7.4 Vaults

Men’s Gymnastics: E and F Elements Rings (2011 Edit)

Have you ever noticed that the gymnasts who win medals in one of these events rarely achieve the same level of success in the other? You’d be hard-pressed to find a gymnast who qualifies to both of these apparatus finals. In fact, the last time this happened in a World Championships or an Olympic Games was in 1995 when Li Xiaoshuang qualified to both.

Can you think of a gymnast whose best two events are rings and vault? Let me know!

Allez Youna!

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Poor Youna. She has had such bad luck on the uneven bars lately! First she lost a medal at the 2010 European Championships after French National Coach Eric Demay accidentally touched her while spotting her on the Def, incurring a 0.5 deduction. You can catch a clear view of this incident at 1:15.

Youna Dufournet, Uneven Bars, 2010 European Championships

That was a mistake. Demay is not Dufournet’s personal coach, and he probably just erred on the side of caution and ended up mistiming his spotting.

What gets me is the turn of events just a few weeks later at the French National Championships. This time it’s Dufournet’s personal coach in charge: Marc Chirilcenco. Never before have I seen a coach spot a gymnast in such a fashion. Could it be that he was sticking it to Demay and making a show of not touching his gymnast? Well that plan sure backfired; Dufournet slipped off the bar and landed awkwardly, injuring her meniscus.

Youna Dufournet, Uneven Bars, 2010 French National Championships

Athlete safety should be paramount. Dufournet showed some lovely gymnastics at the 2009 World Championships and at the 2010 European Championships, but before that she was inconsistent as all get out and an accident waiting to happen. One of the most alarming examples of this is her floor routine from the 2009 European Championships. The scary crashes at 0:17 and 0.58 prove that she was not ready to perform a double layout or a 1.5-twist through to double back.

Youna Dufournet, Floor Exercise, 2009 European Championships

Why push her? She is such a clean gymnast that she will still score well with easier routines. Case in point: Dufournet won the bronze medal on vault at the 2009 World Championships with a near-perfect Yurchenko-1.5 and a clean layout Podkopayeva. I hope Dufournet recovers in time to make a run for the 2012 Olympic Games. And maybe a change of coach wouldn’t hurt….