God of Vault
The 2012 Olympic Champion in Men’s Vault.
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Sprinting down the line;
Leaping into the sky.
Twisting and turning in air.
Cavorting and tumbling,
With glorious abandon -
In a tightly packed competition filled with several great vaulters, only one would reign supreme and stand on top of the medal podium. It was a magnificent vault final, with man after man pulling one incredible vault after another, hurtling down the 20 meter runway and launching themselves through the air with such ease. And the best was saved for last.
Nicknamed the “God of Vault,” nineteen year old Yang Hak Seon vaulted his way to the first ever Olympic gold medal in gymnastics for South Korea. The reigning 2011 World champion on the vault scored an average of 16.533 and cemented his place in history. His first vault had a 17.4 difficulty rating, the highest ever attempted at the Olympics. He earned a 16.466 on that vault, called “The Yang” – a triple twisting handspring front somersault – named after him for being the first man to ever accomplish it and the only one still performing it in competition. Yang had so much power from the run and launch that he took two big steps forward.
His second vault had a lower difficulty rating of 17.0 but garnered an even higher score of 16.6 for nailing the landing. It was spectacular to watch, the way he flew and twisted in the air and then sticking the landing stone cold. Just awesome. He left his fellow competitors completely awestruck. American gymnast Sam Mikulak was so impressed that he gave a hug instead of the congratulatory handshake to Yang, exclaiming, “That was ridiculous!” And even before that, when Yang was about to vault, Mikulak can be heard saying, “I want to see this guy.” Love the power and strength of men’s gymnastics.
Interestingly enough, while this is South Korea’s first ever gold medal in artistic gymnastics, North Korea has actually won two gold medals in the event finals at the Olympics. The first one was back in 1992 in Barcelona on the men’s pommel horse, won by Pae Gil-Su, who tied with Belarusian Vitaly Scherbo for the gold. The other was in 2008 Beijing Olympics, won by Hong Un-Jong on the women’s vault.
Animated gif of Yang nailing his 2nd vault, the triple twisting Tsukahara. Beautiful form in the air.
Motion-capture chronophotography photo of Yang’s gold medal winning vault in London.
American gymnast Danell Leyva’s astonished reaction to Yang’s incredible vault. Absolutely hilarious!
“Give me a hug!” exclaims Sam Mikulak.
Animated gif of Mikulak hugging Yang. Awww! How precious! *LOL*
Yang on top of the medal podium with his gold medal.
Yang taking a bite out of his Olympic gold medal. How cute! *LOL*
Musical montage of the men’s vault competition.
The gold and silver medal winning vaults from the men’s competition.
Highlights of the best vaults in the event finals.
Medal ceremony of men’s vault.
Full replay of apparatus finals of rings, men’s vault and uneven bars.