FIG Bulletin WAG

1975: Tsukahara Vault Wins Medals

Pure gym nerdery. That’s what we have here. 

In 1975, the FIG reprinted an article that analyzed three Tsukahara vaults by three gymnasts: Lyubov Bogdanova, Ludmilla Tourischeva, and Alina Goreac. It includes drawings and tables that compare every fraction of a second of their vaults.

Context: Keep in mind that, in 1973, when the aforementioned vaults were performed, Tsukaharas were relatively new. Tsukahara himself performed the vault at the 1970 World Championships. Two years later, at the Riga International, East German gymnast Beate Gehrke did one of the first Tsukaharas in women’s artistic gymnastics. By the 1974 World Championships, Tsukaharas had become commonplace in WAG.

Have fun looking at this document from the archives.

Tsukahara Vault Wins Medals

Times parameters and comments on technique

Among the most important competitions in 1973 were the World University Championships in Moscow, the European Championships in London, and the Balkanian Championships in Romania.

By coincidence, all the medals in vaulting at these three competitions performed the Tsukahara vault, at the University Championships, Bogdanova, at the European Championships, Turischeva, and at the Balkanian Championships, Goreak [sic].

The Tsukahara vault is not really a new vault to gymnastics, but this is the first year that women have performed it at top international caliber. Gymnastic experts have different opinions about the validity of this vault, however because it is relatively new, coaches and young gymnasts are very interested in it.


The three gymnasts mentioned were filmed on [a] 16 mm high speed (64 sec.) camera. Conturograms (1, 2, 3) of Turischeva and Goreak are from the original film taken during the competition. Bogdanova’s vault is taken from a warm-up vault before the competition.

Certain characteristic positions have taken from the film to make the diagrams, for instance foot take-off, hand touch, hand release, etc. In the second flight characteristic moments for the 1 ½ rotation backwards have been selected. These positions are placed one above the other in the dark black diagrams for easier comparison (conturogram 1, 2, 3 moments A, B, C…).

This article is not intended to analyse the Tsukahara technique in great detail. The diagrams speak for themselves. More information and detail in times parameter, however, is included (see charts I and II).


During the run the competitor must reach maximum speed. The turn overthe long axis begins shortly before completion of take-off (see Turischeva and Goreak). At the moment when hands contact the horse the body position is slightly lower than that of other vaults passing through handstand position — approximately 35-45° (see no. 4). If contact is made lower than 35-45° then many mistakes can be seen in the rest of the vault (Bogdanova). IN preflight the gymnasts must finish more than a 90° turn (Goreak).

Hand contact is alternate, but the time between hand placement must be as short as possible. — Goreak 0,015.625, Turischeva 0,031.250 and Bogdanova 0,078.125 (see chart no. I). For the next part of the vault, it is necessary to have good hand push-off and at this point the gymnast must finish the turn to 180°.

Immediately after releasing the horse the gymnast must pike (Goreak) or tuck (Turischeva and Bogdanova) depending on the technique preferred and grasp the knee or thigh.

During the second flight the head is back and the body rotates and descends, but when the head reaches the horse level again the body must start to extend and prepare for landing. This extension reduces speed and gives greater control for landing. [O]f the three vaults illustrated only Turischeva attempts this extension.

Chart II presents the information on time parameter for the 1 ½ rotation backwards. In the chart, the time for each 90° of the turn has been calculated separately.

Examining this, Goreak has the fastest rotation. For example, for each ¼ turn after 90° she spends 0,125.000 seconds.

She also has mo[r]e constant speed than the others. Generally, this is good but the weakness is that she does not reduce her rotation speed at the end before landing, like Turischeva. Looking at the last column of chart II from 450° to landing, Turischeva takes twice as long as the other[s] to gain control and prepare for landing.

In conclusion, therefore, after standing these three vaults, we can say that Turischeva has better technique and control. Goreak, however, demonstrates a faster more dynamic technique.

(By kind permission of the magazine “Olympic Gymnastics”)

FIG Bulletin of Information, no. 3, 1975

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