I was on the gymnastics team in high school and we had meets nearly every weekend. I was always on the beam, sometimes on the floor, occasionally on the bars and NEVER on the vault. I practiced the vault but hated it...it didn't feel comfortable and I always seemed to juuuuuuust not quite have the skill for it. But my coach wanted me to compete in all events for future meets so she always made me practice the vault.
You know where this is going, don't you?
So...at this particular meet, one of our vaulters wasn't there. I don't recall if she was sick or hurt herself in warm-ups but at the last minute my coach asked me to fill in. I
Coach told me into doing the easiest vault to get points...nothing risky...basically just get over the vault. This was pre-Kerri Strug so I had no Olympic moment to use as motivation just the oh-so-powerful fear of high school humiliation.
I did the first vault without embarrassing myself and was feeling pretty good about the second one. I started my run, picked up speed, lost my footing as I neared the springboard and went chest first into the vault. I didn't go over it...I went into it and I stood there dazed a bit. After remembering that I needed to acknowledge the judges, I looked at my coach who was doubled over laughing. From then on I stuck to the comfort of the 4"-wide beam.
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