South Korea's Yang soars to vault gold

LONDON Mon Aug 6, 2012 11:30am EDT

Yang Hak Seon of South Korea holds his flag as he celebrates winning a gold medal in the men's gymnastics vault final in the North Greenwich Arena during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 6, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Yang Hak Seon of South Korea holds his flag as he celebrates winning a gold medal in the men's gymnastics vault final in the North Greenwich Arena during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 6, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Blake

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LONDON (Reuters) - Yang Hak-seon became the first South Korean gymnast to strike gold at the Olympics when he won the men's vault title on Monday.

The world champion lived up to his billing as favorite after he earned an average score of 16.533 from his two vaults, edging out Russia's Denis Ablyazin on 16.399.

Yang powered down the 20-metres runway and launched into a spectacular triple-twisting front somersault, which he invented and is now named after him. He almost staggered off the mat on landing but so high was the difficulty he still drew 16.466.

He then trumped that effort with a triple twisting Tsukahara and went off on a victory lap long before his second score of 16.600 flashed up.

Ukraine's Igor Radivilov picked up bronze.

(Reporting by Pritha Sarkar, editing by Peter Rutherford)

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