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The purpose of this report was to provide a model analysis of biomechanical films taken during the women's gymnastic vaulting events of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. Although a majority of the optional vaults were filmed, only the 16 vaults performed by the competitors in the individual championships were examined. The analysis included calculations of temporal, spatial, and velocity parameters as the gymnast's center of mass moved through four phases of the vault. The phases were identified as Reuther board contact, prehorse flight, horse contact, and posthorse flight. A representative profile of a female gymnast competing in the Games was compiled based on these parameters. This profile indicated that the gymnasts were much smaller than the average population, efficient in the use of the Reuther board and the horse to reach and maintain CM velocities necessary to complete the vault, and agile enough to perform complex airborne rotations during an average posthorse flight duration of .80s.
Direct all correspondence to Richard C. Nelson, Biomechanics Laboratory, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802.