The Amanar Rankings

All the gymnasts who have successfully landed an Amanar in an actual competition, evaluated on execution, consistency, longevity, success, historical influence, and flute recital.

32. Kyla Ross

Every trend reaches its breaking point.

The United States of Amanar had become such a rage in 2012 that it was all, “Kyla Ross NEEDS an Amanar otherwise BOOOOO!”

But like pierced belly buttons, we look back on it now and say, “………Why?” Why would you make poor Kyla chuck this vault?

31. Simona Amanar

I mean, you got it named after yourself.

30. Jay Jay Marshall

Randomly showing an Amanar at JO Nationals and then not again after that is a badass move, but it’s rotated around based solely on prayers and loses points for infrequency.

29. Anna Pavlova

Well you got it around kind of.

28. Jiang Yuyuan

Jiang gets a couple extra points for landing the vault pretty well on this one single occasion, though by the time the Olympics rolled around it was not happening. She had to be pulled from vault in the TF so as not to risk the gold.

27. Tatiana Nabieva

Sweetie…

26. Shallon Olsen

The Amanar was at its best in 2016, but the twisting onto the table and the crazy legs tell us why this hasn’t always been her vault of choice and has been a struggle since.

25. Elena Zamolodchikova

Zamo rotated this vault on a wing and a prayer and was thrilled to not die on it, but she definitely gets credit for performing the Amanar successfully in such early days. At the time, it was the best it had been done.

24. Jade Carey

The vault is new and looks new for Carey, but she gets several bonus points because the power and shape are there. It’s the landing consistency that hasn’t been there.

23. Ksenia Afanasyeva

I mean you got it done, girl. But those Russ-manar legs.

22. Maggie Nichols

Nichols gets marked up for sufficient power and for not risking death when performing this vault. But the Russia-legs. She’s among those who had to be at her absolute peaky-peak-peak to get the vault done and didn’t have it for long.

21. Aliya Mustafina

For a moment, Aliya could get this vault done. She loses points for helicoptering and for the fact that this vault ruined everything by the time Euros 2011 rolled around and has not been forgiven.

20. Aly Raisman

We know there were problems here, with the knees and the under-rotating, which is why it was such a trial to get this vault in the first place. Raisman gets some bonus for having the leg strength not to die and for being able to perform it in two separate quads and get the vault back after a break. That doesn’t tend to happen.

19. Maria Paseka

I can’t rank Little Betty Leg-Monster too high, but she does have to get some points for the level of success she has had with this vault along with her clear improvements over time. Certainly, 2012 Paseka would be much lower on the list than 2017 Paseka.

18. MyKayla Skinner

The Amanar was typically the less consistent of her two vaults (and therefore appeared less often), but the technique was also better. Points are lost for leg form and a tendency to hop on landing, but she had the power for it.

17. Shawn Johnson

For the time, it was a very strong showing, but the Chowmanar with the little bit of under-rotating and the crossover pee-pee step doesn’t quite hold up among the better Amanars ever. She does get credit for being consistent with it during that 2008 process.

16. Kang Yun Mi

Shortly following her fourth birthday, Kang performed one of the best Amanars ever seen to that point. There isn’t much distance, but the form in the air is actually acceptable. It didn’t last, sadly, and the vault deteriorated into 2004.

15. Jade Barbosa

Barbosa did perform the vault only a handful of times—and this is the one truly strong showing among the bunch—but it’s really not bad at all. Just a little under. Some points docked for ephemerality.

14. Hong Su Jong

While a little flatter and more ragged than some of the very best, it’s a nice vault that HSJ used to help usher in that first generation that could perform the Amanar comfortably as a main vault. Her short career meant she was not able to progress and master the vault like her sister.

13. Lexie Priessman

Remember Lexie’s Amanar? She had a couple good years of it in junior elite, but her vault loses points in retrospect because we blame it for those glass legs she has now. Can we go back in time and you just do a double?

12. Brenna Dowell

At its best in 2013, the vault had solid enough form, power, and direction. But it was also not around for that long, and there was a tendency toward under-twisting on most instances.

11. Viktoria Komova

Like most things about Komova, the Amanar was at its best when she was 15, pretty in execution and really only missing the landing. She struggled to keep it together as she turned senior, the vault becoming flappier and more inconsistently landed in 2012, though it did still reappear in 2012, which earns some points back.

10. Gabby Douglas

Douglas got her life together with this vault at exactly the right time, performing quite a good Amanar at the Olympics, with only a very little bit of knees and direction as her enemies. Outside of that competition, however, her Amanar was not a sure-thing landing.

9. Jordyn Wieber

A sure-thing landing did belong to Jordyn Wieber, who gets bonus points for going through a whole quad of performing  and hitting this vault. What knocks her down the rankings is some more flatness off the table and a tendency toward crazy legs on the block.

8. Rebeca Andrade

We don’t talk enough about how good this vault is. Extended, powerful, great direction, controls her momentum into that landing step. But, we’ll need to see her bring it back when she returns from injury, otherwise it’s going to be just another one of these “you had a good Amanar for a second” situations.

7. Jordan Chiles

Chiles has the power to complete this vault comfortably, with big distance and fully rotated twists. At her best, she’s missing only the landing, but she isn’t able to show up with this vault for every competition, costing her some consistency points.

6. Hong Un Jong

Hong’s vaults have a reputation for not being the prettiest in the world—and they did vary in quality over the last decade plus—but her Amanar is not too floppy at all, with just little bits of softness in the body position. And there’s no one else here who can match her for success and longevity.

5. Elizabeth Price

TEH AMPLITUDE is top-3 all-time and lifts Price up the standings for an Amanar that was typically controlled—and also performed successfully in two different quads. The 2012 “best Amanar ever besides Maroney” narrative reflected a little US-centric bias, but not too, too much.

4. Cheng Fei

Because it’s not the one named after her, we forget that the Amanar was Cheng’s better and more impressive vault. What stands out is her efficient and clean twisting—and she gets a ton success and longevity points. She just lacked some of the height necessary to complete the twist comfortably enough to make it perfect.

3. Monica Rosu

The first great Amanar. Rosu was the first one to show up and say, “I can perform this vault with insane power and you’re not worried about my long-term safety, gymnastics or otherwise.” It still holds up.

2. Simone Biles

I know. I did it. It is the correct answer.

1. McKayla Maroney

An unnecessary amount of YouTube videos have been done comparing these two vaults, but I reject the premise that THEY TIE BECAUSE THEY’RE BOTH AMAZING or whatever. Cop out. Maroney’s is bigger, with more distance, and her tendency toward soft knees in the air or an occasional Finding Nemo right flipper is less real-time apparent than Biles’ foot crossing.

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30 thoughts on “The Amanar Rankings”

  1. Too harsh on Paseka. Her success, longevity, consistency— with 2013 being her only time she fell on it— and execution (it was pristine for the word title win last year) is far underrated in comparison to everyone on the list. And also if this ranks longevity and success Biles should be flipped with Maroney, Cheng should be flipped with Rosu and Price should flipped with Hong. Not to mention that Hong should get major history making points for getting North Korea’s first olympic title in gymnastics ever, and being only the second to get a world title. And she did it in 3 different quads.

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    1. I agree. I think people judge Paseka really harshly because her Cheng is so terrifying, but the Amanar has been really strong for quite a while. Plus she’s been doing it for years with practically a broken back so…

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  2. Am I one of the few who feel that Maroney is stepping out of a less-than-totally-controlled landing into a ‘cover-up-with-a-quick-salute’? OTOH, Biles’ landing seemed stuck.

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    1. Yes!!! Simone’s form is also much better, with only one deduction (crossed feet) as opposed to bent knees and leg sep for maroney. Sorry Spencer, but I think you got this one wrong.

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  3. My respect for you knows no bounds, Spencer.
    But. And again. I say this with the deepest respect.
    Don’t you think the comedic value of Tatiana Nabieva’s vault should raise her a couple of rungs?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. MORE RANKINGS I LOVE RANKINGS

    also i agree that maroney had the best amanar ever. i would have put paseka over at least skinner though

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  5. Oh, I love this list and I enjoyed the hell out of reading it. I love high-profile skills going head to head like this. I also really liked finding out about all these people who had Amanars that I didn’t know about!

    My two cents: Aly gets a further slight upgrade for having a stuck one in 2016 TF and I’d say Simone wins out over Mack for consistency of sticks/near sticks.

    Got I hope Rebeca Andrade gets hers back.

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  6. Jade Carey needed to be in the top ten. The slight over rotation causing her (.3) landing issue is NOTHING compared to the atrocious leg form (up to .5), completely absent blocks (up to 1.1 if the gymnast shows all 3 of bent arms, shoulder angle, and twisting on the table, which some gymnasts ranked higher than Carey do) and twisting into the ground (up to a career ending injury) common among the gymnasts that have done this vault who aren’t named Biles, Maroney, Rosu or Cheng.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Like, Carey’s vault gets more height and distance than Maroney’s most of the time, with equal if not better block technique and form in the air, and you’re letting the hop on the landing drop it 23 places, down below the disasterpieces from Mustafina and Paseka and the knee-destroyers from Raisman and Johnson? I don’t get it. She’s around 10 or 9 for me and if she comes out this year with consistently good landings (stuck or <shoulder width step/hop) she will rocket right up to #1, sorry not sorry

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for your inspired work. Team Maroney all the way. It’s not even close. The form is so clean. The height, the distance. And it’s always landed in the middle of the mat–straight down Broadway. Maroney’s Amanar is the standard by which we measure all other Amanars.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ^^^^ This!

      Isn’t this the only routine where you can say “THE vault” and people know what you’re talking about? I don’t think we have THE bars or THE beam or THE floor. But we absolutely have THE vault. And for me it’s THE vault because of so many factors – excellence, precision, the most important vault of her life, highest stakes, helping propel Team USA to gold. It’s iconic and forever will be. Plus she was ROBBED! She should have had a 10.0 E score.

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    1. Agreed! Amanar’s Amanar in Sydney deserves more credit because until she did it, no one thought it possible to get 2.5 twists off of the vault horse.

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    2. Absolutely. They were doing this vault 20 years ago and pushing the boundaries of the sport. Both deserve top 1/2 of the rankings purely for the grit and talent IMO.

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  8. I also think that Jade Carey should be higher up on the list. She is great and I think this year she will be even better

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  9. Nastia during Priesmann’s amanar: “She has to get it all the way around, otherwise she’s at risk of getting devalued.”
    No. I mean, true, BUT, the greater risk is of breaking her legs. Get your priorities straight, Nastia.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s like the gymnastics version of Hermione saying “We could be killed. Or worse – expelled.”

      “She could break her legs. Or worse – have her start value devalued.”

      LOL!

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  10. mckayla stuck her vault in the freaking Olympic Team Final on the 1 event she competed in — that is legendary — she will be #1 for a long long long time

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  11. Maroney is also 5’4” to Simone’s 4’10”? So yeah she’s got the height advantage. Plus Simone’s stick was legit whereas Maroney’s was a college quick-step. Even despite this logic, I agree that Maroney’s was just the most stunning thing ever.

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  12. Has anyone seen the video of Amanar doing this vault in practice at Europeans? I think it was from 2000, and it went quite a bit better than her attempt in Sydney. I saw it a while ago but cannot seem to find it, now.

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  13. I like this, but here are my opinions:
    – I’d put Jade Carey higher up because of great power and form, at least higher than Nichols, since Maggie has crazy form in hers. IMO, Afan should also be higher than Maggie.
    -Biles should be above Maroney. I know, I know, but hear me out. Simone had a FAR MORE consistent vault, and she actually stuck it. Maroney didn’t stick it, rather “college stuck” it, which is something the gymternet usually hates. Also, Maroney had leg form issues while Simone only had the crossed feet. Maroney’s leg sep and bent knees are far more noticeable. Plus, though Maroney’s is higher, it’s only by a little bit and Simone gets more distance.

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