What Is Produnova or Vault of Death?
The Produnova is an artistic gymnastics vault consisting of a front handspring onto the vaulting horse and two front somersaults off it. Under the 2013 Code of Points (artistic gymnastics) the vault has a 7.0 D-score, and is considered the hardest vault performed in women’s artistic gymnastics. It is named after Yelena Produnova of Russia, who was the first person to complete it successfully in 1999.
This vault is also called the “vault of death” due to its difficulty and likelihood of injury. The vault is considered as the most high risk manoeuver. Many have called for it to be banned. Produnova sees an athlete sprint and catapult into the air, completing two somersaults before landing on their feet safely.
Only five gymnasts till now have successfully executed the extremely difficult Produnova.
Yalena Produnova: Yelena Produnova, who is known for her innovative and powerful skills on the vault and floor exercise, executed the maneuver for the first time in 1999. She enjoyed a glittering career that lasted from 1995 to 2000. She earned multiple world and Olympic medals, however for all her efforts, gold always eluded her.
Dipa Karmarkar: Karmarkar has to her name the title of being the the first Indian female gymnast ever to compete in the Olympics. Born in Agartala, Dipa first shot to limelight after winning bronze at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Dipa is also the latest enterant to the exclusive club of gymnasts who have successfully executed the most difficult vault currently performed in women’s gymnastics.
Yamilet Pena: Yamilet Pena Abreu is an artistic gymnast from the Dominican Republic. She has multiple medals to her name from championships across the globe. Pena is best known for being the second woman to have executed Produnova at the 2011 World Gymnastics Championships in Tokyo.
Fadwa Mohammad: Fadwa Mohamed is an Egyptian Gymnast and a self declared Elena Produnova fan. Fadwa is the third female gymnast to have tasted success with the Produnova maneuver. “I was never scared of doing it. It’s not dangerous for someone who has a body like mine.”
Oksana Aleksandrovna Chusovitina: Born in 1975, Oksana is a veteran gymnast from Uzbekistan who has had a glittering career as an elite gymnast spanning over more than a quarter of a century. She is the only gymnast to have ever competed in seven Olympics. Oksana, who first competed in the Olympics in 1992 and at one time was part of the gymnastics team with the U.S.S.R., attempted the terrifying move. It didn’t go according to plan, although she luckily escaped serious injury. She landed on her shins and somersaulted to her back after the attempt.