There are any number of gymnastics move out there that have all kinds of strange names. Many of these names are actually the names of the gymnast who did them and knowing about these moves can actually tell you a lot about the history of gymnastics since getting a move named after you is this sport’s hall of fame so to speak.
The skills listed here are named for some of these gymnasts and are still included in the FIG’s Code of Points. Gymnasts can have skills named for them after they submit them for judgement and then successfully complete the skill at a major competition such as the World Championships or the Olympic games.
In fact, the FIG encourages gymnast and their coaches to submit new skills and gymnasts try to oblige since it helps them to be more noticed and can potentially increase their chances of being picked for the Olympic team if they are not already there.
Vaults Named After Gymnasts
What you may not be familiar with when it comes to the vault is that the whole Tsukahara branch of vaulting maneuvers was named after one gymnast. A Japanese gymnast with the last name of Tsukahara did this form of twisting at the 1970 World Championships for gymnastics.
Though at first there was only the one vault, that one vault has now been expanded so that there is a whole line of Tsukahara vaults that start with the same entry. To do this type of entry onto the vaulting table the gymnast has to a normal front handspring, but in this case a 1/2 turn to it so that the gymnast lands on her hands on the vaulting table facing away from the runway.
Like the Tsukahara vaults, the Yurchenko was also named after a gymnast, in this case it was a Soviet gymnast by the name of Natalia Yurchenko in 1982 during a competition in Moscow.
This branch of entries onto the vault are literally the most drawn out and the hardest. In order to do this move the gymnast has to do a round-off and land at the end with her feet on the springboard and facing away from the vaulting table. When she bounces off of the springboard she does a backflip onto her hands on the vaulting table and then does any number of other moves to finish off the end of the vault.
This skill, named for Simone Biles, was added to the Code of Points for the International Federation of Gymnastics in 2018. This skill is in the Yurchenko family of vaults as it starts off with a round-off back handspring with a 1/2 turn on for the entry.
Because of the fact that the round-off has a 1/2 turn to it and there is another 1/2 turn onto the vaulting table, then this means that the gymnast ends the entry with her hands on the vaulting table and facing away from the runway. To end this vault has a stretched salto forward with double turn to it before landing.
Cuervo & Cuervo II
Both of these are vaults that are fairly easy to do and they are named after a gymnasts by whose last name was Cuervo. These both start off with a front handspring onto the vaulting table, then the unique feature of these vaults comes in as the gymnast does a half twist off of the vault before even beginning the salto which is then done backward instead of doing the twist with the salto.
The difference between these two vaults is the position that the gymnast is in when she saltos, with the Cuervo being done in a tuck position and the Cuervo II being done in the pike position.
This handspring looks really simple, starting off with a regular front handspring which then goes into a front straight salto. The difficult thing about this move is the fact that as soon as the gymnast gets into the handstand position that they have to keep their body perfectly straight while they do the salto.
Wang W. G.
This one is like the previous option, only a little harder. It starts with a handspring and goes into a front straight salto, but this one is with a half twist to it as well so that the gymnast lands facing the opposite direction.
This is anther vault that starts with a front handspring and then goes into a front salto, but this on is done in the pike position and it is done with a full twist while the gymnast is in the air.
This is a vault that starts with a handspring, then it goes into a front straight salto with a double twist and it is hard enough to warrant 6.20 points. This is one is one that required the gymnast to get a lot of momentum in order to get the momentum needed.
This front handspring vault ends in a double front salto in the tucked position. In order to do the double salto before hitting the ground the gymnast has to have a lot of height, though the fact that this is done in the tucked position does make this a little easier.
Kim & Kim II
These vaults are both named after the same gymnast whose last name was Kim and both start off with a Tsukahara entry onto the vaulting table. The Kim vault is done with a full twist in the tucked position off of the vault to land with. The Kim II also has a full twist, but it is done in the straight position off of the vault.
This vault starts with a Tsukahara entry onto the vaulting table and then off of the table the gymnast stays in the straight position while doing a half twist to land. This move is worth 4.40 points and so, while it is not one of the highest scoring, it does have a reasonable score.
This Tsukahara vault is done with a salto done in the straight position and with a double twist to it.
This vault is a Yurchenko entry onto the vaulting table with salto that is done in the straight position and with a double twist to it.
This vault as well as the next couple of vaults that are named after gymnasts have a very interesting entry. It start with a round-off onto the springboard but then it has a half of a twist onto the vaulting table. This one ends with a front salto in the tuck position and with an added half twist to it.
This vault has the same round-off into a half twist onto the vaulting table, and it even has the same half of a twist during the salto off of the table, however this vault is done in the pike position instead of in the tuck position.
Another round-off into a half of a twist onto the vaulting table, this vault starts off the same but then changes drastically as it ends with another half of a twist off of the table but before the back salto which is done in the pike position.
Perhaps the hardest of the vaults that has the round-off into a half twist entry, this vault does have one of the highest scores for the vaults in that category. To end with this vault has a front salto in the tuck position with a full twist.
This is the other vault in the round-off into a half twist entry that has a really high score to it and, while it does end in a front salto in the tuck position as well, this one has a 1 1/2 twist instead of the double twist that the other has.
This vault starts off with a round-off which then goes into a full twist onto the vaulting table. From there it goes into a back salto in the tuck position.
Thomas Tuck and Pike
This skill is named for Kurt Thomas. Thomas was a prominent gymnast in the late 1970’s. He took home a total of 7 medals at the World Championships for gymnastics, including three gold medals.
This vault is unique, not for its entry as most of the other are, but for the landing. This landing features an odd number of one and a half back saltos done in either the tuck or the pike position with one and a half twists and after that the gymnast lands in a forward roll into a standing position since the partial salto means that they do not hit the ground on their feet.
This is another move named after the same gymnast as the last one, Thomas seems to have enjoyed coming up with creative landings, because the Thomas Salto move is another vault ending. However, it is not advisable to try this one because it is considered far too dangerous.
In order to do this move a gymnast has to do one and a half saltos backward in the tucked position with a 1 1/2 twist which lands in a roll out.
Uneven Bar Moves Named After Gymnasts
This skill is named for Mohini Bhardwaj. Bhardwaj was the first Indian-American gymnast for the United States. She competed at the 1997 and 2001 gymnastic World Championships, as well as the 2004 Olympics, where she earned a silver medal. She is a member of the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame.
For this move the gymnast starts on the high bar and facing the low bar. They swing down and flip backwards with a 360 degree twist to catch the low bar.
This skill is named for gymnast Morgan White, who was the Pan American All-Around Champion in 1999. White was named to the 2000 Olympic Team, but sadly was injured and was unable to compete.
In order to do this move the gymnast has to stalder circle forward in L-grip to handstand with 180 degree turn in handstand position at the end.
Betty Okino, for whom this skill is named, started gymnastics at age 9, and within 4 years, progressed to become an Elite Gymnast and competed at the US National Championships. She was added to the 1992 Olympic Team, which was the first American Olympic Gymnastics Team to win a team medal.
This move starts on the high bar facing away from the low bar, and then the gymnast does a clear underswing with a 180 degree twist to back flip in stretched position.
This move is a mount to the bars where the gymnast gets a running start, bounces off of a springboard, and then does a free hecht over low bar with their legs together in order to grab the high bar.
This mount to the bars move also uses the springboard, but for this move the gymnast does a round-off onto the springboard and then does a back salto over the low bar while in the tuck position, grabbing the low bar as they come down on the other side of it in a hang position.
This gymnastics mount to the bars has the gymnast use a springboard to bounce up with their feet so that they land in a handstand position on the low bar.
This move is a circling skill and is a part of the family of the giant circling maneuvers, it is done in the giant position, backwards, and with only one arm without the aid of the gymnast’s other arm.
An endo is a gymnastics move that is closely related to a stadler circle. In fact, this move can be done with a half of a twist a the end or a full twist at the end. An endo is simply a forward stalder that goes into a handstand position.
This is another move that features a stalder circle, but with this one the circle is done backwards with the full turn at the end being a part of the move.
This bar move is a clear hip circle forward into a handstand position.
Balance Beam Moves Named After Gymnasts
In the 2008 Olympics, Shawn Johnson took home the gold medal in balance beam, and silver medals in team, all-around, and floor exercise. She was also the 2007 World All-Around Champion.
For this move the gymnast has to leap forward with a leg change and do a 1/4 turn into a side split leap or straddle pike position.
This skill was named for Carly Patterson, who was the All-Around Champion at the 2004 Olympics, and involves doing an Arabian double salto forward in the tucked position on the balance beam.
Kristie Phillips was the 1987 US National Champion and the gymnast that this skill is named for. To do this requires the gymnast to press to a side handstand and then from there to do a front walkover to side stand on both legs.
This skill is named for gymnast Shayla Worley. Worley competed with the American team in 2007 at the World Artistic Gymnastics Champion, who took home the gold medal. This move is a jump backwards with a 180 turn handspring to land on two feet.
This skilled is named for US gymnast Anastasia Valeryevna “Nastia” Luikin. Luikin was the 2008 Olympic All-Around World Champion. She is a five-time Olympic Medalist, and a four-time All-Around US National Champion.
This move is a front salto in the piked position with the gymnast jumping from one foot and landing in a scale position.
This skill is named for US gymnast Terin Humphrey. Humphrey won a silver medal in the uneven bars at the 2004 Olympics and helped her team to take silver as well.
This move is a 2.5 turn in tuck stand on one leg with the free leg held at horizontal throughout the whole of the turns.
Floor Moves Named After Gymnasts
This skill, too, is named for legendary gymnast Simone Biles. This skill, nicknamed the Biles II, was named for Biles officially in 2019 following the World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.
For this skill the gymnast has to do a triple twisting double back flip at the end of a combination.
This skill is named for Breanna Dowell, who was a member of the US gold medal winning team at the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Competition. She was also a part of the US team for the 2016 Pacific Rim Gymnastics Competition, where she helped her team to take home the gold.
This move is a forward double pike somersault.
This skill is named from Chellsie Memmel, who was a part of the silver medal winning 2008 Olympic team. Memmel has also taken home three gold and three silver medals at the World Championships.
It is a double turn with the free leg held upward in 180 degree split position and this one is sometimes also known as a double Y turn.