Simone Biles lands Yurchenko double pike during U.S. Classic
On Saturday night, the Olympian made history by performing a gymnastic vault that has never been landed by a woman in competition.
With a bedazzled goat emblazoned on her back, Olympic champion Simone Biles is taking history-making to new heights. On Saturday, the 24 year-old participated in the U.S. Classic in Indianapolis and performed a gymnastic vault that has never been landed by a woman in competition—the Yurchenko Double Pike.
The last time Biles competed was at the 2019 World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany where she won her fifth world all-around title. Following that feat and the postponement of the 2020 Olympics, Biles used her extra time to practice the move, ESPN reports.
Throughout 2020, Biles had been ambiguous about whether she would perform the move in competition, at times previewing her ability to do it to the world and at others suggesting it was too risky.
“In gymnastics, almost everything has been done so when you push boundaries there is a risk factor — risk vs reward,” she said last March. “Gymnastics can be a dangerous sport so you have to be smart,” Biles told PEOPLE in 2020.
But Biles stunned the world when she landed the Yurchenko Double Pike on Saturday night. The vaults consist of a round-off onto a springboard, a back handspring onto the vaulting table, and flips into the air, NBC Sports explains. The maneuvers are named for trailblazing Russian gymnast, Natalia Yurchenko.
On Saturday, Biles took the Yurchenko to the next level by adding an extra flip that historically, has only been performed by men.
“I was just thinking, do it like training. Don’t try to like overdo anything because I have a tendency, as soon as I raise my hand to overpower things and I did a little bit, but I was still on my feet,” said Biles. “It’s a new vault and I’m proud of how today went even though it was a little bit rough and uncharacteristic but it was okay.”
Praises for Biles have poured in over the weekend from all corners of the sports world and beyond. LA Lakers’ LeBron James congratulated Biles with a simple “MY GOODNESS” and a series fire emojis the occasion calls for.
Sports journalist Ari Chambers also put the awe-striking moment into words saying, “Idk if I’m asking HOW or WHAT DID I JUST WATCH?! We’re so lucky to be living in and being able to be a witness to the Simone Biles era.”
Whether you are familiar with all of the intricacies and technicalities of the art of gymnastics or not, one thing is clear: everyone can recognize greatness when we see it. Next up for Biles is the 2021 Tokyo Olympics which start in July.
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