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1. The vault is off some really wierd object these days in lieu of the "horse" it used be. Kind of detracts from tradition, doesn't it?

The new shape or whatever is called a "vaulting table" now and yes, it is a big difference from the traditional "horse." I've heard it called a tongue too since that is what it looks like. They changed it for international competition first (in 2001) and it is now used at all levels as far as I can tell. The new design is supposedly safer, particularly for gymnasts doing yurchenko vaults. Those are the ones where they do a roundoff (like a cartwheel) onto the board (bouncy thing in front of the horse/vaulting table) and then jump backwards onto the vault aparatus. Several gymnasts have injured themselves seriously doing some of the harder vaults on the old style horse. I heard that they are thinking of another slight redesign because of problems that people are having now, but I don't know if that is just rumor.
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