Sandra Izbasa (right), Mckayala Maroney (left)
Since the London Olympics, a comparison between Romania's Sandra Izbasa and US Mckayla Maroney has been heavily debated among gymnastics' fans.

The comparison was not only about their gymnastics but also about their attitude and  personality.

But here is why you can't compare between the two athletes.

In order to qualify to a vault final, a gymnast has to perform two vaults from two different vault families while gymnasts who wish to compete in the all around, are only required to compete one vault.

Throughout her whole career, Sandra Izbasa has never been known as a vaulter. She competed two vaults in 2006 and 2007, and qualified to the event's final at Worlds and European championships but was never considered a contender on it.

She only began re-competing two vaults in 2011 and 2012, and had very successful competitions on. She won gold at 2011 and 2012 European championships.

She went to London, not as a favorite to win gold but a favorite to win a medal. And the world worked positively for her, Maroney fell and she won gold.

No, I am not saying she did not deserve her gold medal. She had a nice execution and difficulty and most importantly she landed on her feet. She was clearly better than the rest of her competitors.

But Izbasa is not a vaulter, like or close to Mckayla Maroney or other strong vaulters like Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan or Simone Biles of USA or Elena Zamoloditchkova of Russia. Vault is Maroney's specialty, she is a phenomenon on that event. Her Amanar will go down in history as the best ever Amanar, the world has ever witnessed.

While Izbasa's specialty is on floor exercise. For her achievements, she will be remembered for surprisingly winning the Olympic vault gold medal, as well as her well deserved Olympic gold on floor exercise and her so many medals at European championships.

Gymnastics wise, she will be remembered for her breath taking performances on floor exercise and for her longevity. Only for her Olympic gold she will be remembered as a vaulter.

They are both wonderful gymnasts but they are incomparable. We can compare Maroney to/with vaulters Biles/Chusovitina/Zamo......etc and compare Izbasa to/with floor workers Cheng/Ponor/Raducan/Johnson, and not vice versa.

Like for example, Khorkina has a well deserved gold and a silver on vault at World championships yet we can't compare her with/to any of the vault specialists of her time. She is a bars worker and an all arounder, the perfect and most accurate category she fits in is the all around and uneven bars. 

Regarding their attitude and personality, they cannot be compared.

People praised Izbasa for smiling and cheerfully waving to the camera after falling on her last tumbling pass on floor exercise at London's event final and compared it with Maroney's reaction to losing the Olympic vault gold medal.

Here is the thing, Izbasa's situation was entirely different than Maroney's.

Maroney at that time was only 16 years old and London was her first Olympic games. She was hyped as invincible and for her the vault gold medal was inevitable.

Up until this infamous moment, she has never fallen on that vault. She was destined to become the new Olympic vault champion.

Suddenly, in one moment, just like that, it was a big disappointment to all the hype.

On the other hand, Izbasa was a lot older, she was 22 years old. It is no brainer that when you are in your twenties you are way more mature than when you were in your adolescence.

Izbasa at that time knew that she was already leaving the Olympic games with an unexpected individual gold medal. You also have to keep in mind that she already has an individual gold medal from the previous Olympic games.

Huge difference! 

I will have to admit that maybe Maroney should have handled it better. But I don't know if Izbasa/you/me were put in a similar situation, how would we have reacted?



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