Indianapolis – Simone Biles, the most decorated gymnast in history, is noted for performing so hard, and so uniquely, that many names are given to her.
On Saturday, she considered a new one so dangerous that no other woman even attempted to do it.
Her latest signature skills are called the Yurchenko Double Pike. The Biles attempted it for the first time at the US Classic Saturday night, their first competition in 18 months.
Biles had unveiled the vault, a stunning feat of strength, physics and fearlessness that was traditionally done just a day before by men, in a video from a practice that quickly Spread fast.
The Yurchenko double pike is considered so dangerous and challenging that no other woman has attempted it in competition, and it is unlikely that any woman in the world is even training to try it. To execute this, a gymnast must first launch himself into a roundoff back handspring at the vaulting table, and then flip himself twice to the pike position (body folded, legs straight) before landing on his feet. Gotta give myself enough time.
This is the kind of maneuver that is more easily performed by a platform diver who has gravity and a soft landing. The gall, however, performs this by creating enough speed and strength to elevate itself in the air and then flip so fast on its way to the bottom that gravity seems to be taken by surprise. There were others. There were also Biles.
Not even the vault’s name, former Russian gymnast Natalia Yurchenko tried it out in the competition. (Double Pike has Yurchenko’s name as he pioneered the roundoff-back-handspring approach to the vault, not what Biles could do after pressing it now.)
On Saturday, Biles performed so well to the vault that one of his flaws was, somehow, over-rotating him. This meant that he had to step back a few steps upon landing to stop his speed.
Still, when Biles landed, he sent a small crowd into a frenzy at the Indiana Convention Center.
However, the judges scoring him were not so impressed. Despite the difficulty of the move, he gave it a provisional scoring value of 6.6, similar to what other Biles vaults have received. This limited the points available to perform it successfully, a point that a disappointed Biles suggested was inappropriate for him.
“I think now we just have to get what we get because there is no point in fighting because they are not going to reward it,” she said of the judges and eventually, the International Gymnastics Federation, which finals Is the term on the starting price for new vaults made in the competition. “Then we just have to take it and shut up.”
Biles said on Saturday that the Gymnastics Federation had similarly given him a starting price for double-twisting, double-back beam dismounts that were too low, and that she expects her Yurchenko double pike when it is reviewed Will underestimate.
Coordinator of the United States women’s national team, Tom Forster, agreed with Biles that 6.6 was not enough, given the difficulty of the vault. “It seems that what they have done with other vault values is not consistent,” he said, and I don’t know why they do it.
One reason for this may be a concern for the safety of gymnasts who are not as efficient as Biles – by giving a dangerous move a low starting price, the Federation quietly discourages others from putting it at risk. But one fear may also be that Biles is so good that she can take part in any competition, in which she plays only a handful of tricks that her opponent cannot attempt or dare.
“They are both rare and they know it,” Biles said of the awards for his beam dismount and double-pike vault. “But they don’t want the field to be far away. And that’s just what’s on them. It’s not on me.
“They had an open-ended code and now they are crazy that people are so upfront and excellent.”
Despite not being properly rewarded, Biles, the defending Olympic champion at the all-around, said she would continue to do them.
When asked why, she immediately replied, “Because I can.”