Vault: like the summer version of the luge

I have satellite in my little apartment now, so I’ve been watching the Olympics like it’s my job. I think the most terrifying event I’ve seen so far would have to be vault – it’s like the summer equivalent of the luge. We saw a cyclist bail in a long-distance race and that wasn’t even as scary as the vaulters.

The concept itself is just a bit terrifying – you run, breakneck, at a springboard, round off onto the vault, and then throw yourself into the air, whilst doing a few flips and spins mid-air. Good lord! It just all seems so incredibly unpredictable, and that makes it so very scary. Plus, I feel like the CTV commentators are setting the contestants up for failure. Being a big believer in jinxes myself (growing up on the sidelines of the baseball diamond, the coaches were always very superstitious) saying things like “Oh he is going to need a HUGE vault today” or “After qualifying in first, this man has it in the bag.” Bah! I’ve already seen favourites Christian Thomas and McKayla Maroney land square on their bums, and they were predicted to win. Not knowing anything about this sport, it just seems like a terrifying game of chance.

I think it’s the absolute best though when an athlete that just qualified does his or her vault. They’ve got nothing to lose, they’re ranked 8th, and when they stick the landing, they’ve got this HUGE beaming smile. Sure the commentators will go on and on about how it’s not enough to win the gold, but it really doesn’t matter. That huge smile is proof of how happy that athlete is with their performance, medal winning or not. They threw themselves into the air and they landed, both ankles intact. Yes, I think that’s cause for celebration! You go you crazy vaulters! You go!

~ Julia

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