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The Amanar for women (or Shewfelt for men) is a skill in vault of artistic gymnastics. The vault was named after the first gymnast to perform it at an official FIG competition, usually the World Championships or Olympics: Simona Amânar of Romania for women, and Kyle Shewfelt of Canada for men. Both were originated at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. The vault belongs to the Yurchenko family consisting of a roundoff onto springboard, back handspring onto vaulting platform and into 2½ twists in a back layout salto off the table. Although this vault officially has two names after two athletes, the Amanar is more commonly used for both sexes.
As of the beginning of 2017, the Yurchenko style vault remains one of the most difficult vaults performed successfully by women. Since the end of the traditional 10.0 scoring system in 2005 to 2012, the vault had a difficulty value of 6.5, 0.7 higher than the much more common double-twisting Yurchenko. In the 2013–2016 Code of Points, this vault was expectedly downgraded from the difficulty value of 6.5 to 6.3. In the most current 2017–2020 Code of Points, the vault was further and more significantly downgraded from the difficulty value of 6.3 to 5.8, equivalent to only a double-twisting Yurchenko in the earlier 2013–2016 Code of Points.
Although there has been no official advancement in this family of vaults since the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney for women, Hong Un Jong of North Korea, gold medalist in vault at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, did attempt a triple-twisting Yurchenko (TTY) at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, which would have a difficulty value of 6.8 if successful, and was very close to successfully completing it in competition then if she had not sat it down on landing.
For men, there remains only a handful of gymnasts to have successfully completed a triple-twisting Yurchenko, officially known as the Shirai or Shirai-Kim on vault, in competition since it was achieved by both Kenzō Shirai of Japan and Kim Hee Hoon of South Korea at the same competition, 2013 World Championships. Shirai then went on to successfully complete the 3½-twisting Yurchenko, now officially known as the Shirai 2 on vault, at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and as of mid 2019, he remains the only gymnast to have even attempted the Shirai 2 on vault (and thus the only one to have successfully completed it) in competition.
Although Shirai had never used the Shewfelt ever since he started competing internationally for Japan at the age of 17 in 2013, a note here about his contributions to this vault, and the apparatus in general, is appropriate. It took 13 years since 2000 for him and Kim Hee Hoon of South Korea to end the stalemate and progress Yurchenko vaults from 2½ (Amanar or Shewfelt) to 3 twists (Shirai or Shirai-Kim) in competition at the 2013 World Championships, but then Shirai alone needed only 3 more years to successfully complete the 3½-twisting Yurchenko (Shirai 2) in competition at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro to now owning one of only five vaults to be assigned the highest D-score of 6.0 on this apparatus for MAG in the FIG's most current 2017–2020 Code of Points. The other 6.0 vaults include the front handspring triple twist (Yang Hak Seon), Tsukahara 3½ twist (Yang Hak Seon 2), full-twisting double Tsukahara (Ri Se Gwang), and double front piked with ½ twist (Ri Se Gwang 2) or more commonly Drăgulescu piked.
Because there are more options for men with the very advanced vaults they can perform (e.g. with "double somersault" [two revolutions] vaults) due to the nature of the event and physiological discrepancies between genders, the Amanar remains more popular among women than men. The one "double somersault" vault that was ever successfully performed by women has long only been the Produnova or "handspring–double front", originated by Yelena Produnova of Russia back in 1999, and was by far the most difficult and highest scoring vault for women for almost two decades until the recent successful completion of the Biles or "½ on–double twist off", originated by Simone Biles of the United States in 2018, which was assigned the same difficulty value as the lowered Produnova D-score of 6.4 in the FIG's 2017–2020 Code of Points for women's artistic gymnastics.
As of August 2017, the following women have completed the Amanar on vault in competition:
- Simona Amânar (ROU)
- Ksenia Afanasyeva (RUS)
- Rebeca Andrade (BRA)
- Jade Barbosa (BRA)
- Simone Biles (USA)
- Jade Carey (USA)
- Cheng Fei (CHN)
- Jordan Chiles (USA)
- Gabby Douglas (USA)
- Brenna Dowell (USA)
- Hong Su Jong (PRK) [note 1]
- Hong Un Jong (PRK)
- Jiang Yuyuan (CHN)
- Shawn Johnson (USA)
- Kang Yun Mi (PRK)
- Viktoria Komova (RUS)
- McKayla Maroney (USA)
- Jay Jay Marshall (USA)
- Mai Murakami (JPN)
- Aliya Mustafina (RUS)
- Tatiana Nabieva (RUS)
- Maggie Nichols (USA)
- Shallon Olsen (CAN)
- Maria Paseka (RUS)
- Anna Pavlova (RUS)
- Elizabeth Price (USA)
- Lexie Priessman (USA)
- Aly Raisman (USA)
- Kyla Ross (USA)
- Monica Roșu (ROU)
- MyKayla Skinner (USA)
- Seira Suzuki (JPN)
- Jordyn Wieber (USA)
- Elena Zamolodchikova (RUS)
The first male gymnast to perform a 2½-twisting Yurchenko was Kyle Shewfelt of Canada. He initially completed the vault in 1999, and based on his performance in competition at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, he received naming credit for the skill, Shewfelt, from the FIG for men's artistic gymnastics.
From 2005 to 2010, the Shewfelt corresponded to a 6.6 D-score and was a common vault for top international males who were not vault specialists, but since 2004, men's vault has evolved to higher difficulty such that major-competition event finalists typically perform 7.0 vaults that are more difficult than the Shewfelt. The difficulty score of the Shewfelt has since been decreased to 5.2 for the FIG’s most recent 2017–2020 Code of Points for men’s artistic gymnastics in the current quad.
The following men have completed the Shewfelts in competition:
In modern gymnastics scoring, incomplete twisting results in a downgrade of difficulty rather than an execution deduction. This practice does not just occur with incomplete Amanars but for other vaults as well. In terms of the Amanar, attempted ones with less than 2½ credited twists are considered double-twisting Yurchenkos and thus downgraded by 0.7, 0.5 or 0.4 in the FIG’s older 2009–2012, previous 2013–2016 or most current 2017–2020 Code of Points now respectively.
At the 2010 World Championships, Russian Tatiana Nabieva's Amanar was downgraded in the event final (but credited in team finals and prelims) for incomplete twisting. The Russian team protested unsuccessfully. Controversy associated with the downgrade (and two other Russian vault downgrades) was reflected in Russian media; however, Christine Still of the BBC described the vault as having "two and one-quarter" rotations. Similarly, the first vault of North Korea's Hong Un Jong was also only credited for an Amanar when she attempted a triple-twisting Yurchenko (TTY) during the individual vault event final at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro but was ruled her twisting was incomplete, partly due to the fall on landing as well, even though she was very close to fully completing the skill then.
An example in MAG was when Shirai attempted the Shirai for his first vault in the individual vault event final at the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, the skill was at the time had landed in a rather awkward position and downgraded after the judges ruled that three full twists were not sufficiently completed upon landing. He therefore was only given credit for executing the Yurchenko 2½ twist in that vault or effectively manage performing the Shewfelt instead.
- Performed vault while age-ineligible for meet, 2004 Olympics.
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