I’ve always thought that the handspring-rudi vault is undervalued in comparison to the Amanar vault, but until now, I’ve never been able to prove my point. Recently I found some information that suggests the handspring-rudi may be just as difficult as the Amanar.
First of all, in the new 2013-2016 Code of Points, the Amanar is valued 0.1 higher than the rudi. In the 2009-2012 Code, under which the Olympic Games were conducted, the Amanar was worth 0.2 more than the rudi.
At the London Olympic Games in women’s qualifications, six Amanars (two-and-a-half-twisting Yurchenkos) were performed. Shown below are the names of the women who performed them and their execution scores:
- Jordyn Wieber/USA: 9.433
- Gabrielle Douglas/USA: 9.400
- McKayla Maroney/USA: 9.400
- Alexandra Raisman/USA: 9.300
- Viktoria Komova/RUS: 9.133
- Maria Paseka/RUS: 9.033
Four handspring-rudis (a layout salto with one-and-a-half twists) were also performed in women’s qualifications at the Games:
- Oksana Chusovitina/GER: 8.833
- Elsabeth Black/CAN: 8.500
- Giulia Steingruber/SUI: 8.483
- Janine Berger/GER: 7.833
As you can see, all of the execution scores from the Amanar-vaulting gymnasts were above 9.000—higher than any execution score garnered by a gymnast vaulting a rudi.
At the 2011 World Championships, in women’s qualifications, two gymnasts performed an Amanar. One was McKayla Maroney, and she scored a 9.033 in execution, while the other was Jordyn Wieber, who scored 8.933. Three gymnasts performed rudis (Oksana Chusovitina, Giulia Steingruber, and Alexa Moreno), and none of them topped 9.000 in execution. The highest score, in fact, was Chusovitina’s 8.866.
Here are my thoughts: if the world’s best gymnasts are consistently scoring higher in execution on their 6.3 Amanars than on their 6.2 rudis, then something just doesn’t seem quite right. Could it be that the Amanar is actually easier to properly execute than the rudi?
Let’s break down the two vaults phase-by-phase. The first phase is the preflight position. With an Amanar, the gymnast comes onto the springboard in a round-off, and the handspring-rudi is, as the name states, a handspring vault. I believe that while a round-off is harder than a handspring, it appears more difficult to twist out of a handspring than a round-off. (On a round-off, the gymnast has already achieved a twisting motion due to the half-turn onto the board, while a handspring has no twisting momentum.)
Looking at the flight of the vault, we see that the rudi has one-and-a-half twists and the Amanar has a full twist more. However, the rudi is a backwards-landing vault, so it seems harder to stick. I also feel that it runs a higher risk of injury than the Amanar, which is landed facing forward.
I want to reiterate the fact that at the London Olympics, six gymnasts did Amanars and only four did rudis. And since the 2009 World Championships, eleven Amanars have been performed in world and Olympic vault qualifications, and there have been only ten rudis performed. That’s not a large margin at all, but it is indeed a difference.
To me, all of this indicates that the handspring-rudi is just as hard as the Amanar, if not harder. I feel that when the FIG updated the Code for 2013-2016, they should have left the rudi valued at 6.3, so that it would start at the same level of difficulty as the Amanar.
Article by Anna Rose Johnson
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