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Okay, on to individual events. First up... Vault. (Which is the easiest to understand as well as being first in rotation order)

The A-panel judges record which vault was done and what its Difficulty Value is. For example, a simple front handspring vault has a value of 2.40. The hardest vault (in the materials that I'm consulting) would be a handspring double front in tucked position which has a value of 7.10. Some of the men do this vault, but it is rare.

The B-panel judges start their scores from 10.0 and deduct from that based on the execution -how well the vault is performed. Deductions could come from legs being apart, legs being bent when they aren't supposed to be, turns being incomplete, landing too close to the vaulting table, stepping or hopping on the landing, etc.

The two scores are added together for the score on a vault.

After the score is calculated, there is one more judge who has input. The line judge says whether the gymnast landed within the "corridor" - or the space between the two lines on the mat. If a gymnast lands with both feet between the lines, there is no deduction. If one foot is over the line, there is a 0.1 deduction and if both feet are outside the lines it is 0.3 off. The only thing that counts is where the gymnast first lands, so if you land in and then go out on a hop or a step, you don't get this deduction.

Those are the basics. Not so bad.

Other interesting facts about vault scoring:

* The gymnast indicates which vault she will be attempting by flashing an identifying number before she goes. However, there is no deduction for doing a different vault from the one you indicated. So, for example, if you indicate that you plan to do a layout but it feels off in the air so you decide to tuck, you will have a lower start value, but no additional deduction for changing your mind. However, if you do not flash any vault identifier at all, there is a 0.3 deduction.

*Depending on what phase of the competition one is in, either one or two vaults are performed. In cases where two are performed, the second one must have either no flip off the horse (oh, fine, vaulting table), or a flip in the opposite direction of the flip in the first vault. Direction in this case being backwards or forwards.

* If you ignore that rule, they average your two vault scores and then subtract 2.00 to get your final score. That's a pretty hefty deduction.

* Having two very different but high level vaults is difficult. Not many women even try. For example, in the 2007 Visa National Championships, only Alicia Sacramone even attempted the two vaults.

* If you fall on your vault such that your feet are not the first things that hit the mat, your vault will get a zero.

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