LONDON, Aug. 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korean gymnast Yang Hak-seon won the gold medal in men's vault Monday at the London Olympics.
Yang posted an average score of 16.533 points after two vault attempts in the final at the North Greenwich Arena. In his first try, Yang successfully pulled off his signature move called "The Yang Hak-seon," a triple-twisting handspring front somersault that he nailed to win the 2011 world championships in Tokyo. Yang earned 16.466 points this time, despite slipping a bit on the landing.
In the second try, Yang had a perfect landing and earned 16.600 points to clinch the gold medal. It's the first Olympic gymnastics gold for South Korea.
Russia's Denis Ablyazin took the silver with an average of 16.399 points, followed by Igor Radivilov of Ukraine at 16.316.
In Olympic artistic gymnastics, judges are divided into two panels to come up with the final score, signified by the alphabet "F."
The difficulty panel of two judges calculates the "D" score, which is based on the difficulty of the routine. The D score is open-ended for other apparatus, but with vault, all moves are assigned a specific point value.
The execution panel of five judges decides the "E" score by deducting from the maximum score of perfect 10, based on the gymnast's execution of the routine.
Yang Hak-seon performs a vault routine en route to the gold medal on Aug. 6, 2012, at the London Olympics. (Yonhap)
The start value of Yang's first move was 7.400, higher than any move in vault. No one in the field submitted a move worth more than 7.000 points on Monday. And that gave Yang some wiggle room when he took two steps upon landing.
In addition to the starting value, Yang scored 9.066 points for his E score for 16.466. His second vault had the starting point of 7.000, and his flawless landing gave him 9.600 in E score for 16.600, and the winning average score of 16.533.
"I knew there was an opportunity out there for me and I was able to pounce on it today," Yang said. "Right now, I wouldn't trade this gold medal for anything."
He said he didn't watch the first five gymnasts compete, including the runner-up Ablyazin. But Yang did see the score that put the Russian in first place with three gymnasts remaining, and decided to go for the most technically challenging move in vault.
"I wanted to show everything I had because the guys before me had put up good scores," Yang said. "My first score was okay, and after the second try, I was pretty confident I would get the gold."