The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Ranking the Vault 10s

In 2012, we saw five 10s awarded on vault.

There are two types of gymnastics fans: Those who say, “Great for them! They’re all winners!” and those who say, “But who is the actual winner?”

I think it’s time to pick an actual winner. The videos of the five vaults are provided below. Let’s all watch and rank, and we’ll come up with a winner among the 10s.

Feel free to move beyond the scoring system and embrace the inherent subjectivity by using any and all criteria you think is appropriate: body shape, landing position, block, amplitude, distance, difficulty, artistic interpretation, hairstyle selection, ability to convey a theme through movement, leotard quality, coach reaction, etc. Use it all.

Geralen Stack Eaton – January 13, 2012

Vanessa Zamarripa – January 15, 2012

Diandra Milliner – February 3, 2012

Tauny Frattone – March 11, 2012

Vanessa Zamarripa – April 21, 2012

My ranking and thoughts:

1. Frattone
2. Zamarripa January
3. Zamarripa Super Six
4. Stack-Eaton
5. Milliner

It may just be the relaxation of retrospection, but I’m feeling a lot more forgiving toward these vaults than I was at the time. I’m not going to debate any awarding of 10s, so it basically comes down to a matter of taste.

I’ve decided to be a little controversial here and put Frattone’s vault first. I didn’t feel this way when it happened, and I can grant vehement disagreement through discussion of leg separation and difficulty, but it is by far the most satisfyingly stuck vault of the group. Part of that is the nature of this vault. You’re not going to be as hunched over and afraid as you are on a Yurchenko full, but she has the best presence and posture on landing. I’m such a sucker for that.

Compare that to Stack-Eaton, who is at a little bit of a 45 degree angle when she sticks. (Incidentally, her Super Six vault was far stronger and would have contended for the top of the list had it received a 10). For Zamarripa, she bounces out of that January stick pretty quickly, and I doubt whether she could have held it. In the Super Six vault, she’s a victim of replay. In that reverse angle, we can see her rocking on one foot to try to hold onto the vault, which takes away from the stick. I put both the Zamarripa vaults ahead of the Stack-Eaton vault, though, largely based on overall appreciation of form.

The Milliner vault goes last for me because it has the clearest issue. She bends those knees pretty obviously even in real time, so while she gets bonus points for difficulty, it’s still the least impressive 10 to me. One of the tings that helps Frattone’s vault in my estimation is that she almost always bends her legs a little on that vault but didn’t this time.

What do you think? Am I crazy? What is your ranking?


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