US vault potential

This year’s world championships start in less than 2 weeks. It always creeps up on me. Stoi! will be doing some predictions soon, but we want to wait until all the teams (or at least the 7s) have been officially announced. For now, we’re thinking about stuff we’re looking forward to seeing.

As all our readers no doubt know, the US team for worlds has been announced: Wieber, Sacramone, Raisman, Maroney, Douglas, Li and Vega. They haven’t yet decided who the alternate will be, but at the moment one would assume it’s Vega. The others are all absolutely necessary on at least one event in TFs, she isn’t.

Which got me to thinking what an immense vault rotation this will be in prelims. It’s been obvious for a while that it would be good, but now we know who it’ll feature. Clearly not Anna Li, as she isn’t even training vault. It’ll be, probably in this order: Douglas, Raisman, Wieber, Sacramone, Maroney.

Just think about that for a few moments. They’ll be leading off, meaning they’ll show as the 5th ranked routine, this high and sound DTY:

Pretty good on the whole, no? This would get into any vault lineup in the world right now, and arguably compares well with Sloan in 08 and Peszek in 07, both of whom were taken to be the 3rd ranked vaulter.

Second up, fourth ranked, should be Aly Raisman. Her vaulting has been dissed a lot recently, and it’s true that she needs to stop bothering with the Amanar. It’s hard to see how she’ll ever get it round properly- the block on her DTY just isn’t high enough. Nonetheless, it’s still a good vault when considered by itself, not as a building block to something more difficult.

She too would be an ornament to any vault lineup in the world, as well as a few in the recent and indeed distant past.

In many ways, the routines a team doesn’t use say as much about it’s strength as the ones it does. For this reason, and also because we’ve been asked to embed less, we’re not going to post the top 3’s vaults here. Douglas and Raisman alone illustrate American strength on this event. So too does the list of vaults we won’t even see at worlds: Johnson, M Caquatto, B Caquatto, Jay, not to mention all the juniors with Amanars.

I’m going to stick my neck out and say this has the potential to be the best vaulting rotation since the Soviets at the 91 worlds. For those who aren’t as old as we are, this team had 3DTYs, a piked barani, a Tsuk full and Boginskaya’s imperious FTY. They opened with a DTY, ffs!

Nothing says ‘you bitches are only here for the minor medals’ quite like kicking off optionals with Kalinina’s DTY.

I’m struggling though to think of a lineup as strong as the 2011 US team since then. Romania in 94-96 had some superb vaults from the leaders, but the ‘tail’ tended to let them down a bit. Russia in Sydney could’ve been up there if Produnova had been in her 99 vaulting form, but she looked sloppy. China have never had sufficient strength in depth on the event, although their having more DTYs than the medallists put together in 1996 says a lot.

So, if I may be so bold as to say so, I think this could be the best vault lineup in 20 years. If I haven’t jinxed it.

Stoi! readers, please feel free to tell us all about your favourite vault lineups.

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