The women's vault might be the Olympic event that takes the least time to complete. The competitors have a mere two jumps to show why they merit a medal.
McKayla Maroney is, by almost all accounts, the world's best vaulter. She made America proud and got judges' jaws to drop with her near-perfect vault in the team final, going from a back handspring, completing two and a half twists, and sticking the landing absolutely perfectly. But one of her two jumps didn't achieve the same near-perfection she showed the other night: she fell. She didn't fully get around on her last flip, and didn't get her feet under her, ending up on her behind, resulting in an automatic one-point deduction. The fall gave her a score of 14.3 on her second vault, which was the second worst score on a vault by anybody in the event.
Luckily for Maroney, her first jump was an example of how good Maroney can be, scoring a 15.866, the highest anybody scored in the round. She got the supreme elevation she's known for and barely missed out on sticking the landing. Therefore, even with the slip-up on her second vault, her average of 15.083 was good enough for a silver. In fact, she was in the lead with only one gymnast to go. But Sandra Izbasa's more consistent performance had an average of 15.191 and the gold.
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