The Amanar Vault

Shawn Johnson competes on vault at the 2008 Olympic Gymnastics competition
Shawn Johnson (USA) on vault. © Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images

Definition:

The Amanar is a Yurchenko-style vault, meaning that the gymnast performs a round-off onto the board, a back handspring onto the horse, and a flip off. In the Amanar, the flip off the horse is a 2.5 twisting layout back flip. The vault is named after Romanian gymnast Simona Amanar, who performed it at the 2000 Olympic Games.

Also Known As:

Yurchenko 2.5

Example:

Cheng Fei (China) performs an Amanar vault

When it was first performed:

Amanar was one of the best vaulters of all time, and won the 1996 Olympic title on that event -- but she actually stumbled on her namesake vault when she performed it at the 2000 Games. (Watch Amanar do her vault.) She ended up in sixth place in the finals.

Meanwhile, Russian gymnast Elena Zamolodchikova could also perform the same vault, but opted to only do a double twist in vault finals -- and she won gold that day. Amanar's gamble earned her her name in the Code of Points, but not another Olympic gold medal.

The Amanar vault has been a decider in major competitions:

Though Romanian Simona Amanar pioneered it, the American women have since made it their vault, and it was key to the U.S. women's Olympic team victory in London in 2012, as well as at worlds in 2011, 2014 and 2015.

In 2012, all three of the Americans performed the Amanar vault in team finals, allowing the team to pull ahead of second-place Russia by nearly two points after the first rotation, and out-distancing the team from eventual bronze medalist Romania by more than three points on that event.

These are enormous margins in the sport. US gymnast McKayla Maroney earned an improbable 16.233 -- the only score above 16 in the entire competition. And that stuck vault has gone on to become legendary: Watch McKayla Maroney's Amanar vault here.


Go to the Glossary of Gym Terms