In honor of Suni Lee winning Olympic gold in the women’s all-around gymnastics, here’s that time the officials set the vault too low at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and all the competitors fell and almost killed themselves.
During the all-around competition in the women’s gymnastics at the 2000 Olympics, it was discovered that the vault was too low. This low vault caused Elise Ray to have some scary falls and Svetlana Khorkina to have an uncharacteristic fall. Similar scary falls and uncharacteristic mistakes occurred during the first subdivision during the preliminary competition. Two of the Australian gymnasts (Allana Slater and Brooke Walker) had scary crashes on their vaults. Liu Xuan underrotated her vault. Kui Yuan Yuan and Kristen Maloney injured themselves on the vault. Kui sprained her knee and was out of team finals. Kristen reinjured the leg that had the rod put in to heal her stubborn stress fracture. Kristen Maloney had not fallen in vault in competition since early 1998. Was the vault too low?
The crazy part is the vault was set to 120cm instead of 125cm, meaning a difference of less than two inches was responsible for all this mayhem. To get an idea of what this is like, there used to be a subway station where one of the stairs was a fraction of an inch taller than the rest and it caused everybody to trip. And that was just walking up the stairs. I can’t even imagine what two inches does when you’re flying through the air like the Tasmanian Devil.
Keep going for the full video as well as the full original NBC coverage from the event.
And here’s NBC’s full original coverage from the event. They discover the vault is too low at 50:00 but you can see some of the catastrophic results at 10:20 before it’s fixed:
And a video of everybody tripping on that subway station staircase:
And all of Suni Lee’s routines that earned her Olympic gold:
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