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Yurchenko is the name of both a specific vault and a vault family in artistic gymnastics. The Yurchenko was named after Soviet gymnast Natalia Yurchenko in 1982 during a competition in Moscow. The first gymnast to actually perform it in a competition was Viktor Levinkov, a male Russian gymnast, who was the original inventor of the Yurchenko.
In a Yurchenko vault, the gymnast does a round-off onto the springboard and a back handspring onto the horse or vaulting table. The gymnast then performs a salto, which may range in difficulty from a simple single tuck to a triple twist layout. The Yurchenko gave birth to a new vault group called "Round off with or without 1/2 to 1/1 turn (180-360 degrees) in entry phase (Yurchenko entry) - Salto forward or backward with or without long axis turn in second flight phase.
Any vault with a roundoff-back handspring entry is classified as a "Yurchenko-style" vault in the Code of Points. Many variations of the original vault have been introduced by gymnasts in international competitions. Even as of 2019, gymnasts and coaches continue to develop more difficult versions of the Yurchenko.
Backhandspring entry (off the table):
- Dungelova: Roundoff, back handspring entry; tucked salto bwd with 2/1 turn (720°) off
- 1½ twisting Yurchenko: Roundoff, back handspring entry; one and a half twisting layout. Abbreviated as 1.5Y.
- Baitova (more commonly referred to as Double Twisting Yurchenko): Roundoff, backhandspring entry; double twisting layout. Abbreviated as DTY.
- Amanar/Shewfelt (2½ twisting Yurchenko): Roundoff, back handspring entry; two and a half twisting layout.
Twisting entry (springboard to table):
- Luconi: Roundoff, back handspring with ¾ turn entry; back tuck/pike/layout somersault
- Omelianchik: Roundoff, back handspring with half turn entry; piked salto fwd off
- Ivantcheva: Roundoff, back handspring with half turn entry; tucked salto fwd off
- Servente: Roundoff, back handspring with half turn entry; tucked salto fwd with ½ turn (180°) off
- Podkopayeva: Roundoff, back handspring with half turn entry; front pike somersault with ½ twist
- López: Roundoff, back handspring with half turn entry; front layout somersault with ½ twist
- Khorkina: Roundoff, back handspring with half turn entry; front tuck somersault with 1½ twist
- Mustafina: Roundoff, back handspring with half turn entry; front stretched somersault with 1 full twist
- Cheng: Roundoff, back handspring with half turn entry; front stretched somersault with 1½ twist
- Biles: Roundoff, back handspring with half turn entry; front stretched somersault with 2 twists
Scoring NCAA Gymnastics - Yurchenko
Each vault with a Yurchenko attached to it has its own points that are given values on a 10.0 scale, 10.0 being the maximum number of points allowed.
List of some vault values for reference:
- Yurchenko back tuck - 9.5
- Yurchenko back tuck 1/2 - 9.8
- Yurchenko back tuck 1/1 - 9.9
- Yurchenko back tuck 1.5 - 10.0
- Yurchenko back pike - 9.6
- Yurchenko back pike 1/2 - 9.9
- Yurchenko back pike 1/1 - 10.0
- Yurchenko back layout - 9.75
- Yurchenko back layout 1/2 - 9.95
- Yurchenko 1/2 front layout - 9.95
- Yurchenko back layout 1/1 - 9.95
- Yurchenko back layout 1.5 - 10.0
- Yurchenko back layout 2/1 - 10.0
- Yurchenko back layout 2.5 - 10.0
- Yurchenko 1/2 on front tuck - 9.9
- Yurchenko 1/2 on front tuck 1/2 - 10.0
- Yurchenko 1/2 on front tuck 1/1 - 10.0
- Yurchenko 1/2 on front pike - 10.0
- Yurchenko 1/2 on front layout - 10.0
- Yurchenko 1/2 on front layout 1/2 - 10.0
- Yurchenko 1/1 on back tuck - 10.0
Compared to the other events, vault has the fewest elements being performed as there are only few skills in comparison to, for instance, a floor routine which could have a variety of skills involved in the routine.
Landing are treated the same as the other events although they can be treated a bit harsher due to there being less benefit of the doubt of a short landing or sticks; those may be forgiven at the end of a bar or beam routine, but they will not be overlooked after a vault.
Small steps will get 0.05 off and larger/lunges will get 0.1 off. Hops are also treated harshly due to it looking as though there was a lack of control. Small hops such as bunny hops or little bounces in place typically only get 0.05 off. A hop in place is not considered a stick and points will be deducted accordingly.
Landing short, for example landing too far forward and piked down, looking as though the full flip was incomplete, will be deducted along with any other additional steps. Uncontrolled landings or huge bounds and or lunges will get hit with multiple tenth deductions.
Pike Shape and Bent Knees
Most vaults are attempted in a layout position and on those judges are looking for a perfectly straight body. If performing a layout position and there is a pike, deductions can be made depending on where in the rotation there is a pike and the severity of it and the deduction could be more than 0.05. If the pike occurs right before the landing, there is a possibility that it will be overlooked and they can get away with it. The term "flaring" means that a gymnast is opening and extending their arms at the end of the rotation to slow themselves down to get prepared for their landing. This both looks pretty and also shows that the gymnast is spatially aware and they have more than enough time to land their vault without landing in a triangular shape. If going for a piked vault, many are worried that they will be in too much of a piked position and getting deducted for being piked in the landing position.
Flight off the table is judged critically as it is necessary for the gymnast to show their repulsion off of the table and a high completion of the vault. If the amplitude is not reached they could end up landing short and get deductions as said before. There is no specific height that must be reached, but all necessary twists/rotations must be completed with at least the gymnasts hip being at the level or above the table. A vault without the correct amplitude could result in more than 0.05 deducted, a vault that shoots horizontally off of the table could result in at least a tenth off.
Gymnasts must reach a desired distance off the table, although there is no reference point, the judges are basing it off of the possibility of the gymnast hitting their head on the table.
Gymnasts are expected to land in line with the table, without deviation from either side too far. For elite gymnasts there will be lines indicated where the central line is and other outside lines that help the judge see how far they have deviated from the line.
- Video of Natalia Yurchenko performing Yurchenko vault - 1985 Summer Universiade in Kobe, all-around (dead link)
- Animation of a gymnast performing a DTY
- Developing the Yurchenko from A to Z
- List of Yurchenko family vaults with Start Values (old Code of Points)
- Vault skills terminology
- Natalia Yurchenko: http://www.nataliayurchenko.com/innovations/yurchenko-vault/
- Vault Scoring Values: https://balancebeamsituation.com/2017/12/04/scoring-ncaa-gymnastics-vault/