2012 Summer Olympics: McKayla Maroney's 'vault heard round the world'
Six years and one day ago today on , the United States Olympic women's Olympic gymnastics team, dubbed the "Fierce Five", became the first United States Olympic women's Olympic gymnastics team to earn the gold medal for their performance in the Summer Olympics since the team dubbed the "Magnificent Seven" did so in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, United States.
This team, which consisted of Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross and Jordyn Wieber, won the gold medal in convincing fashion over silver medalist Russia by a 5.066-point margin (183.596 to 178.530).
A major reason why the Fierce Five won the gold medal was because of the performances of the three gymnasts who competed on the vault for the team.
These three gymnasts, Maroney, Douglas and Wieber, recorded the top three scores of all 24 gymnasts who competed on the vault across all eight teams in the women's team finals. Not only that, but they recorded the top three scores of all 96 performances by the 40 gymnasts among all eight teams across all four events in the finals.
Wieber led off with an impressive vault that scored 15.933 points for the team, and Douglas followed with an impressive vault that scored 15.966 points, two scores that no other gymnast would touch in any event throughout the rest of the finals.
Except for Maroney.
Maroney was the third and final gymnast representing the Fierce Five to compete on the vault, which was her specialty and her lone event in the team finals, and her performance blew everybody away.
The then 16-year-old Long Beach, California native got amazing height on her Amanar vault, and what she did while she was in the air was impressive.
Even more impressive was the fact that she somehow managed to stick her landing, concluding what was and still is arguably the greatest vault of all-time.
Here is a video of Maroney's vault.
Maroney earned a score of 16.233 points for this vault, the top score among all gymnasts not only in the vault portion of the women's team finals but among all gymnasts in all of the events of the finals.
Nobody else came close.
Why Maroney didn't earn a perfect score, or a "perfect 10", which would have been a score of 16.500 points since the difficulty of her vault was a 6.500, is anybody's guess.
Just look at the reactions of the judges upon seeing her vault right in front of their eyes at roughly 1:42 in the video. They, like everyone else in the world, could not believe what they had just witnessed.
Truth be told, their reactions alone should have disqualified them from even considering deducting 0.267 points from Maroney's score. She should have been given a score of 16.500 points on the spot, no questions asked.
But whether or not the score of 16.233 points truly does it justice, Maroney's vault in the women's team finals six years ago in the 2012 Summer Olympics is one that will be extremely hard to top. There is no need to give or take 0.267 confidence points about that.