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Vault: No more horsing around

MikeWthHorseMike Raines, CEO and founder of GMR Gymnastics sales was a gymnast from age 13 until his college years. Alas, Mike was forced into retirement when his shoulder gave out from too many inverts in college.

Moving from doing gymnastics to coaching and installing gymnastics equipment for another company, Mike decided to start one himself. From then, he’s been a gymnastics equipment nerd since he designed and manufactured his first Mushroom™. Mike’s love of making and innovating equipment will never fade!

Mike also enjoys collecting old gymnastics equipment. He’s interested in gymnastics history and studying how the sport and its equipment has evolved over the years and how new technologies and techniques interrelate as the sport continues to grow.

Mike had been on the hunt for something special to put in the foyer of GMR’s Lithonia, GA headquarters when a former employee told him of an antique vault buck at a thrift store.

HorseFootYes! That something special had finally found him!

Hailing all the way from the 1920’s this antique vault horse is a beaut! It was made by Adec Sport, a Belgian company that’s still around today. It’s a seriously, solid hoss of a thing, probably weighing a good 75lbs, with a body made out from suede leather. The legs are telescopic, making its height adjustable. Mike, “It’s feet are shaped like actual hooves!” That’s true. It’s a trip: It’s feet look just like those of a real equine being.

Mike adds, “I’m most interested in the antique gymnastics equipment for its relationship to the gymnastics in terms of how both the sport and the equipment have evolved and how they’ve changed in relations to one another. Equipment begets skills and skills beget equipment. ”

That’s especially true of the gymnastics element of vault.

Gymnastics first saw vault enter Olympic competition in the Summer of 1896. 15 athletes from 5 countries  competed where the Germans took the gold and bronze and the silver medal went to the Swiss.

vault tables 2Today’s vault events happen on a gymnastics vault table, we’l get to those in a minute, but early forms of gymnastics vault were executed on “horses”. These gymnastics vault horses were shaped a lot life gymnastics pommel horses, only with the handles taken off. (Thank goodness!)

For women, the vault horse was placed at a perpendicular angle at the end of the vault run. Men’s vault horse was positioned lengthwise at the end of theirs.

The history of vault in gymnastics carries with it the burden  and sorrow of many tragic accidents, we see now, in hindsight, because of the dimensions of the vault horse.

We’re glad the governing bodies of gymnastics maintain an open mind and have placed the health and safety of our athletes as a priority, as they continue to re-evaluate equipment and technology in the sport. 

In addition to the all-important safety factor, the wider blocking surface — the space the athlete uses to launch themselves into the flight element — allows for a wider variety of skills, or, if you will, more daring feats, in vault.

The 2001 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships or “Worlds” is where we first saw the Dutch company Janssen-Fritsen’s newly innovated: vault table. 

Remarkably different than the vault horse, the vault table looks kind of like a giant tongue on a stick. It’s got a large flat surface, a portion of which is turned down at the front, closest to the springboard.

Our By GMR Choco G Series Vault Table adjusts from 105cm to 135cm to accommodate the different heights used in men’s and women’s vault gymnastics.

Features of our By GMR Choco G Series Vault Table:

• A strong 1″ thick unbreakable hard maple wood top.

• Padded with a full 2″ EVA PE spring foam for great shoulder snap rebound.

• Covered in Choco non-slip basketball type fabric.

• The upright includes a Nitrogen Auto Lift gas spring that makes height adjustment effortless.

• Two tightening handles or locks mounted on the side for easy access.

• Height markings are easily viewed next to the locks.

• The base is made of heavy duty steel tubing with the extended legs in the back to prevent tip over.

We’d love to help you find the perfect vault table, vault run and vault matting solutions for your gymnastics gym.

We do custom gym design, so we can help you maximize safety and space efficiency such that your facility works as a streamlined and organic, whole.



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