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Yang Hak-seon (Hangul양학선; Hanja梁鶴善 ; born 6 December 1992) is a South Korean gymnast who specialises on the vault apparatus. He is the first South Korean gymnast to win an Olympic gold medal.

Yang Hak-Seon
Korea London Yang Hakseon 02 (7771945238).jpg
Personal information
Full nameYang Hak-Seon
Nickname(s)The God of Vault
Country represented South Korea
Born (1992-12-06) December 6, 1992 (age 26)
Gwangju, South Korea
Height1.59 m (5 ft 3 in)
DisciplineMen's artistic gymnastics
Eponymous skillsYang
Yang Hak-seon
Revised RomanizationYang Hak-seon
McCune–ReischauerYang Hak-sŏn


Personal lifeEdit

According to his Olympic profile, Yang started his gymnastics career at the age of 9, following his brother's footsteps.[1]

Yang is currently attending the Korea National Sport University.[2]

Yang's parents are Yang Gwan-gwon and Ki Suk-hyang.[3] Their impoverished family previously lived in one of Gwangju's shantytowns, before relocating to North Jeolla Province's Gochang, in South Korea's countryside, in 2010, after his father, a construction worker, suffered from serious injuries.[3] His family currently lives in a makeshift converted greenhouse constructed from PVC pipes.[2] After Yang's father lost his job, Yang supported the family with a modest income from the Korea Gymnastic Association.[4] Yang's coach Cho Sung-doe admitted that he had been unaware of the family's precarious financial situation before Yang won the gold medal.[4]


Yang placed fourth and just missed medaling in the individual vault final at the 2010 World Championships in Rotterdam, and would later become vault champion at the 2010 Asian Games. In 2012, he became the first Korean gymnast to win Olympic gold in gymnastics, winning the vault competition in London.[3] In 2013, he went on to win gold in vault at the 2013 Summer Universiade in Kazan, Russia. He is famous in the gymnastics world for performing one of the five hardest vaults in the world, the Yang Hak Seon, which is a front handspring on and three twists off in layout position. It was unveiled at the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo, and initially carried the highest ever difficulty score of 7.4 in men's vault at the time under the 2009-2012 Code of Points (CoP). The difficulty score (D-score) of the Yang Hak Seon has been adjusted at the beginning of subsequent quarters since, initially down to 6.4 under the 2012-2016 CoP and now down to 6.0 under the current 2017-2020 CoP. The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) regularly reassess and adjusts D-scores (typically) down due to the advancement of skills in gymnastics, especially on vault because of its D-scores being assigned numeric values instead of alphabetical representations, the only apparatus in gymnastics to do so. Yang is additionally said to be working on a second difficult vault, but this one is a sideways entry.[5]

Yang was a reigning world champion, having won gold in vault at both the 2011[6] and 2013 World Championships in Tokyo and Antwerp respectively.[7] However, at the 2014 World Championships in Nanning, China, he fell on both of his vaults, failing to defend his title and finished in seventh place. He was similarly unable to defend his Olympic title at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro due to injury. At the 2017 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Montreal, Canada, Yang had qualified (Q) in first place for the vault event final but pulled out after that because he had sustained a hamstring injury during qualifications.

Competitive historyEdit

Eponymous skillsEdit

Apparatus Name Description Difficulty Notes
Vault Yang Hak Seon front handspring into (straight) triple twist 6.0 originated in the individual vault final at the 2011 World Championships as MAG's single hardest vault at the time

The difficulty above is in line with the 2017-2020 Code of Points. Yang currently shares the honour with only Kenzō Shirai of Japan and Ri Se Gwang of North Korea for having at least one of the five skills with the highest D-score of 6.0 in men's vault under the FIG's most current 2017–2020 Code of Points to be named after them. The Yang Hak Seon is a front handspring (forwards) entry family vault (as opposed to all of Shirai's vaults belonging to the Yurchenko or round-off [backward] entry family), and it has a front handspring takeoff (forwards) onto the vaulting platform and then into a triple-twisting layout off the platform ending in a blind landing. Even though some may refer to the Yang Hak Seon by just using Yang's surname, it is not quite accurate. This is because Yang's surname, like most Koean and Chinese names, is not customarily listed at the end of his name; therefore, Yang's entire name in customary order is officially used in the naming of any skill he has originated.


  1. ^ "Hak Seon Yang". Athlete overviews. London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  2. ^ a b [런던] 양학선 꿈 자란 비닐하우스 들여다보니 '울컥'. Nate News (in Korean). NATE. 7 August 2012. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  3. ^ a b c Kang Seung-woo (August 7, 2010). "Korean gymnast rises from poverty". The Korea Times. Retrieved August 9, 2012.
  4. ^ a b Kwon, KJ; Alexis Lai. "Gymnastics Olympics 2012: Yang Hak-seon, South Korean gold gymnast, vaults from rags to riches". CNN. Archived from the original on 2012-08-12. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  5. ^ Sport Chosun (October 6, 2013). "'도마의신'양학선 세계체조선수권 2연패,적수 없었다(in Korean)". Naver.
  6. ^ S (October 6, 2013). "Exciting showdown at Tokyo Worlds".
  7. ^ S (October 6, 2013). "South Korea's Yang wins men's vault title at gymnastics worlds".

External linksEdit