Herein I have ranked all 33 extant Produnova vaults, with points awarded for originally, virtuosity, artistic interpretation, hilarity, and whether or not you’re dead afterward.
1. Elena Produnova, 1999 Universiade
Obviously. The only good one ever done. She really only loses points for the hop forward and the lack of shaved stripes in her eyebrow that she would develop by 2000, but those are both quite minor deductions.
2. Elena Produnova, 1999 Worlds Event Final
A less heralded showing but one worthy of recognition since Produnova basically invented the Butt-a-Prod with this performance. The Butt-a-Prod is an extremely important vault in its own right, as we’ll see.
Produnova, however, has the gall not even to booty-scrape here because of her extreme lower-body power, so it cannot be credited as a true Butt-a-Prod.
3. Dipa Karmakar, 2016 Rio Test Event Qualification
The perfection of the Butt-a-Prod medium is shown in this vault, expertly maintaining the paradox of somehow both falling and sticking at the same time.
Magic. And by magic, I mean immediate knee replacement surgery.
4. Dipa Karmakar, 2015 Worlds Event Finals
Not quite the same perfection of Butt-a-Prod reached here since both the fall phase and the ripping-femur-out-of-socket phase of the vault are slightly more prolonged. She does still manage to attain the “Did I fall? Did I stick? It’s a SECRETTTTTT,” so it nonetheless ranks quite well.
5. Dipa Karmakar, 2015 Asian Championships
In this instance, Karmakar eschewed the Butt-a-Prod for a traditional Produnova, so I guess we’ll allow it. Barely…
Quite significantly, there is no booty-scrape and she did not break any limbs or open a rip in the spacetime continuum with a projectile patella.
6. Yamilet Pena, 2012 Zibo World Cup Qualification
Pena’s strongest showing, in which she also successfully avoids a Butt-a-Prod with a step to the side and shows a minimum of booty-scraping. If you’re not going to master the Butt-a-Prod paradox, it’s better just to go for the regular Prod. Significantly, Pena’s knees turned only to liquid instead of gas after this vault. Huge development.
7. Dipa Karmakar, 2016 Rio Test Event Final
Forward elements are always ranked higher than backward elements, so while there is a more distinct lack of control in this vault, a special bonus is awarded for upgrading to the Butt-a-Prod forward over the Butt-a-Prod backward.
8. Dipa Karmakar, 2016 Olympic Qualification
A pretty classic Butt-a-Prod from Karmakar here. Not the best ever by any means, but when you flash the number for the Butt-a-Prod, this is what the judges are typically expecting to see. She successfully gets the booty-scrape, the immediate pop up, and the step back (all three equally critical components), so ticking all the boxes there.
9. Dipa Karmakar, 2015 Worlds Qualification
Here we see a prior attempt at the classic Butt-a-Prod from Karmakar, though not quite as big or controlled as we would see a year later.
10. Dipa Karmakar, 2014 Commonwealth Games Event Final
Of course, we have to take off more in execution for the hop back with two feet rather than the step back with one.
11. Dipa Karmakar, 2016 Olympics Event Final
Good use of hover-butt to remain relatively vertical, though one really shouldn’t have to employ such a drastic technique in the best Butt-a-Prods.
12. Yamilet Pena, 2015 Pan Ams Qualification
Pena got her own compulsory Butt-a-Prod qualifying score with this showing.
13. Oksana Chusovitina, 2016 Mersin World Cup
Chuso also scraped through with her compulsory Butt-a-Prod score after this vault, though her less-controlled lunge back takes her a touch farther down the standings.
14. Yamilet Pena, 2011 Pan Ams All-Around
Likely would not have ranked among the strongest Butt-a-Prods, but the dramatic, fly-swatting anger-salute and storm-off afterward saves it.
15. Elena Produnova, 1999 Worlds Team Final
Produnova solidified her heritage by saving her worst Prod incarnation for when it counted for the team, but this vault does move ahead of several others on account of bonus points for storming the castle on landing with a dramatic head-butt lunge.
16. Dipa Karmakar, 2014 Asian Games Qualification
Acceptable attempt at the Butt-a-Prod forward here, but we just can’t have that many steps along with the hint of hand brushing that takes it down the rankings. Storming the castle with hand-support is valued a full tenth lower.
17. Yamilet Pena, 2011 Worlds Qualification
Far less control, though I do very much appreciate the commitment to interpretive performance in the stumble backward here to make it seem like “I’m gaining control of this landing!” Even though you landed ass-first, so no you aren’t.
18. Yamilet Pena, 2012 Zibo World Cup Event Final
Here Pena manages to fully sit down on the vault and then get back up solely in order to stagger backward like it’s St. Patrick’s Day on the HMS Pinafore, which is the epitome of true competitive glory. Claps.
19. Yamilet Pena, 2013 Worlds Qualification
Brilliant connection into forward roll here. 10 hilarious points, along with 0.2 CV, to move it well up the rankings.
20. Oksana Chusovitina, 2016 Olympic Event Final
Chuso also successfully gets credited with a hands-free forward roll combination. She just lacks a touch of the amplitude and rebounding action that Pena shows.
21. Dipa Karmakar, 2014 Commonwealth Games Qualification
Karmakar nearly manages the forward-roll combination but is just a bit too deep on landing to pull it around. Her own hoppity-bear-crawl variation, however, is worth several points in its own right.
22. Dipa Karmakar, 2014 Asian Games Event Final
Struggles with both hip and knee explosion really hurt this vault in the rankings.
23. Oksana Chusovitina, 2015 Worlds Qualification
Homegirl, you’re better than this.
The attempts to control the hops to the side after getting up from a fall really make it. Gotta save that landing that you already fell on. It it does lack some of the drama of Pena’s famous fall-hops, though.
24. Yamilet Pena, 2012 Olympic Qualification
Doesn’t really manage to get up in order to stagger-step here much at all, which is a shame. I do award some points for connecting the fall to immediate drab-walk attempt as though she just landed on a pine cone.
25. Yamilet Pena, 2015 Worlds Qualification
The less successful of the two pine cone variations, most critics agree.
26. Yamilet Pena, 2013 Worlds Event Final
Quite an average sit here. Very little rebound.
27. Yamilet Pena, 2015 Pan Ams Event Final
I do appreciate the addition of a little sub-competition in this one, the race between the butt and the foot to see who hits the ground first. Very tough call. We’ll need to go to the photo finish.
28. Yamilet Pena, 2012 Olympic Event Final
Definite feet-first landing on this one (a victory), but unfortunately Pena is penalized 3.5 points for ankles exploding in a hail of shrapnel throughout the arena. Real shame.
29. Yamilet Pena, 2011 Pan Ams Event Final
You can see she was going for the Butt-a-Prod on this one, but it’s really just a Butt.
30. Choe Jong Sil, 1980 Olympics
Receives bonus points for being the first and for expertly rotating just enough not to die. Although that may have been luck.
31. Ekaterina Tsvetkova, 2012 Russian Champs
Who even are you?
Did you never try this vault ever again please?
32. Yamilet Pena, 2011 Worlds Event Final
Excellent display of splatitude.
33. Fadwa Mahmoud, 2014 African Championship
The absolute worst. Full-leg explosion connected to forward projectile spine-shoot from someone who didn’t have the power to have any business attempting this vault.
GOOD COACH APPLAUSE. ALL OF THIS IS HEALTHY.