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Elena Prudunova: Bad Ass Vaulter

Elena Prudunova was fierce.

Whether it was the red hair (I'm voting for that option) or her incredible power, she was just awesome.

She's the only person to successfully land her eponymous vault and not almost die doing it.  Hence, why the skill is named for her. In this GIF from the University Games in 1999, Elena debuts her vault which is the most difficult vault in the Women's Code of Points today with a 7.0 start value. She somehow knows just when to kick out of the flip in enough time for her to land on her feet and not on her head.

For more reference, here are a couple of videos, the first one is the event finals from the 1999 World Championships. In this one, she lands with her butt pretty close to the ground, but she sticks it.

The next one is where the black and white GIF is from. It's the 1999 University Games.

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