McKayla Maroney Falters, Earns Silver Medal In Women's Vault

Aug 5, 2012; London , United Kingdom; McKayla Maroney (USA) reacts on the podium after winning the silver medal in the vault competition at North Greenwich Arena in the London 2012 Olympic Games. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

McKayla Maroney's fall cost her gold in the vault, where she was heavily favored.

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.

For more on the Olympics, check out SB Nation's London 2012 Olympics Hub.

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