Top 10 Senior Elite Vaulters To Watch In 2017

Top 10 Senior Elite Vaulters To Watch In 2017
Photo: Andrew P. Scott-USA TODAY Sports
As we get closer and closer to the World Championships -- October 2-8 in Montreal -- we've been taking a look at some of the best gymnasts on the international elite scene on each of the four apparatuses.

Today we are taking a look at vault. Vault is a unique event in that gymnasts must be capable of competing two different vaults (from different vault groups in the code of points) in order to qualify for the vault final at World Championships. Given this, gymnasts would normally only train two vaults if they are intending to try for the vault final. 

So which vaulters should you watch out for this year who may take home the World Championship title? In no particular order, check out our top ten list below.

1. SAE MIYAKAWA (JAPAN)


Sae Miyakawa was a member of the Japanese Olympic team in 2016 and contributed on vault for the team competition, scoring the highest for the team with a 15.066, though she unfortunately did not qualify for the vault final. This year, Miyakawa has taken several gold medals on vault at the All-Japan Championships and the NHK Trophy. At the recent All-Japan Event Championships in June, she competed a Rudi, with a 5.8 D-score, and a Yurchenko double, with a 5.4 D-score.


2. SHALLON OLSEN (CANADA)


Shallon Olsen is one of Canada's top senior elites who competed for the team at the 2016 Olympics. She has a plethora of gold medals to her name on vault, including at this year's Canadian Championships and at International Gymnix. Olsen has already been added to Canada's worlds team and will be expected to contribute on vault and floor especially. 

At Canadian Championships in May, Olsen competed a Yurchenko double and a Khorkina (round-off half-on, tucked 1.5 twist off) -- both vaults are rated at a 5.4 D-score. Check out Olsen's awesome vaults from Jesolo below:



3. REBECA ANDRADE (BRAZIL)

Rebeca Andrade is a powerhouse for Brazil and was a key contributor at the 2016 Olympics. She competed as one of the country's two all-around competitors and scored a 15.566 on her Amanar in the AA competition. This year, Andrade competed at Jesolo and scored a 15.0 on her Yurchenko double in the all-around final. She also took the gold medal on vault at the Koper Challenge Cup in May. 

Andrade suffered an unfortunate foot injury earlier this year, and she did not compete on any event except bars at the Brazilian Championships. We're hopeful that she'll be recovered in time for Worlds in October.


4. COLINE DEVILLARD (FRANCE)


Coline Devillard turned senior last year and has been a strong vaulter for the French team. She won the vault title at last year's French Championships. This year, she caught everyone's attention when she captured the gold medal on vault at the European Championships, scoring a 14.466 average score. 

Devillard competed a Rudi (5.8 D-score) and a Yurchenko double (5.4 D-score) at the European Championships. Check out the video of her awesome vaults below:



5. LIU JINRU (CHINA)


Liu Jinru is a relative newcomer to the international elite scene, having turned senior in 2016. She competed at the London World Cup earlier this year, but scored fairly low overall. She did well at the Chinese Championships in May, where she took the gold medal on vault. Later that month, Liu competed at the Asian Championships and once again took the gold medal on vault. 

Liu's advantage is that she's capable of high difficulty on vault. The vaults that she competed at Chinese Nationals were a Tsuk double (5.6 D-score) and a huge Rudi (5.8 D-score).


6. MARIA PASEKA (RUSSIA)


Maria Paseka is a veteran of the Russian team and always delivers on vault for them. She has two Olympic vault medals to her name -- a bronze from 2012 and a silver from 2016. She also has a gold medal on vault from 2015 World Championships and three medals from European Championships. 

Paseka competed at the 2017 European Championships and just missed out on a medal by placing fourth in the vault final. She competed a Lopez at a 5.2 D-score and an Amanar at a 5.8 D-score. She suffered some form issues on both vaults, likely because of lack of training time due to a back injury she has been battling. She is due to compete at the upcoming Universiade competition for Russia, so it will be interesting to see the progress she has made.


7. OKSANA CHUSOVITINA (UZBEKISTAN)


No list of top vaulters would be complete without Oksana Chusovitina, who we may see compete at her 11th World Championships this year. Chusovitina has won seven worlds medals on vault in her lifetime, and she may yet take home more. She has already competed at several international meets this year, including International Gymnix -- where she took the silver medal in event finals on vault -- and the Baku and Doha World Cups -- where she took home gold medals on vault. 

This year, Chusovitina was competing a front handspring layout full, with a 5.4 D-score, and Tsukahara 1.5 twist, with a 5.2 D-score.


8. JADE CAREY (USA)


Jade Carey sprung on to the U.S. elite scene this year, having previously competed as a level 10 gymnast in 2016. She's incredibly powerful and is currently the USA's only gymnast who has shown two vaults in competition. More importantly, the two vaults she competes put her up there with the best in the world. She competes a Kasamatsu full, with a 5.6 D-score, as well as an Amanar, with a 5.8 D-score.  

Carey will be competing at P&G Championships next week and is expected to take the vault title. Check out her Amanar from U.S. Classic a few weeks ago below, on which she scored a 14.6:


Video via USA Gymnastics

9. WANG YAN (CHINA)


Wang Yan is another Olympian on our list, having competed for China in 2016 in Rio. She helped the team to a bronze-medal finish with her performances on vault and floor, and she also made it into the floor, vault, and all-around finals. 

This year, Wang competed at the Melbourne World Cup, where she took the gold medal on vault, scoring a combined 14.25. She competed a Tsukahara double with a 5.6 D-score, and a Rudi with a 5.8 D-score. Wang is another gymnast who has suffered some injuries this year, and she did not compete vault at Chinese Championships in May, apart from in qualifications. Hopefully she will be healthy enough to have a shot at Worlds.


10. GIULIA STEINGRUBER (SWITZERLAND)


Giulia Steingruber is the reigning Olympic bronze medalist on vault and has a slew of gold medals to her name on the event from various international competitions over the years. She has five European Championship medals on vault, including two gold medals (one from last year in Bern). At the Olympics, Steingruber competed a Rudi (currently 5.8 D-score) and a Yurchenko double (currently 5.4 D-score). 

Steingruber has been out with an injury so far this year and was not able to defend her vault title at European Championships, but we are hopeful to see her at Worlds later this year.


Notable Mentions:
Hong Un Jong (People's Republic of North Korea)
Boglarka Devai (Hungary)
Tisha Volleman (The Netherlands)
Angelina Melnikova (Russia)

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