Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Plenty of people can flip and twist, but controlling it and having air awareness is the difference between throwing your body around and having a perfect vault.
Once Maroney knows she has competed two-and-a-half twists, she must "kick-out." "Kicking out" is the process of stopping yourself from flipping or twisting. In order to do this, Maroney brings her arms from bent in at her shoulder to straight out to her sides. The process of opening up her arms is what makes the twisting stop.
One thing that makes Maroney's vault so incredible is when she kicks out, her body is still at table height (many gymnasts don't finish their twists until they are just about to land).
In the interview with Dawes on the previous page, Maroney said she has thought of competing a triple-full. She is more than capable of making three twists around and could probably, with no twisting, complete a double back. Both would be amazing, but the problem is there is no need to attempt either one of those vaults because she is still going to win the Olympic Games on vault by at least five tenths only doing a two-and-a-half.
The landing on a two-and-a-half is considered "blind" because the gymnast can not spot/see the landing almost until feet touch mat, but Maroney's height gives her the advantage there too. The height of her vault allows her to have much more time than her competitors to prepare for a landing, since most of them are still worried about completing the twist.
When Maroney lands, she must keep her chest up and not let her momentum bring it forward. When her chest stays up, we see balanced landings like the one in team finals, but when she lets herself fall forward, we see her have to take deductions because of a large step.