Simone Biles Proves Yet Again She Is The Greatest Gymnast Of All Time

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Simone Biles is the first female gymnast to complete the Yurchenko double pike (Credit: Agência Brasil Fotografias/ CC-BY-SA- 2.0/ Wikimedia Commons)

Simone Biles, the world's most decorated gymnast, is well-known for performing moves so tricky and unique that many have been named after her. On May 22, 2021, the 24-year-old phenom made history again by becoming the first woman to perform a Yurchenko double pike in a competition. Even more impressive, the US Classic in Indianapolis, where Biles' accomplished the feat, was the gymnast's first meet since the COVID-19 pandemic caused all events to be canceled in early 2020.

Named after Soviet gymnast Natalia Yurchenko, who introduced the skill at a competition in Moscow in 1982, the Yurchenko refers to a vault style. Gymnasts begin by completing a round-off onto the springboard and then a back handspring onto the horse or vaulting table. They then use both hands to spring into the air and perform a single backflip before sticking a vertical landing.

Over the years, athletes have added to the difficulty by completing two, or even two and a half, twists during the flip. However, only a handful of male gymnasts have dared to do what Biles did on Saturday — a round-off onto a springboard, a backward dive onto the vaulting table, and two full backflips in a difficult pike position. Though the landing was not as smooth as the gymnast would have liked, she was thrilled with her accomplishment.

"I was just thinking, 'Do it like training. Don't try to like overdo anything,'" Biles said afterward, "because I have a tendency as soon as I raise my hand to kind of overpower things, and I did a little bit, but at least I was on my feet. It's a new vault, and I'm proud of how today went."

Biles has five Olympic medals and 25 World Championship medals (Credit: Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil/CC-BY- SA-2.0 / Wikimedia Commons)

Though Biles made it look easy, the Yurchenko double pike is not for the faint of heart and can easily result in a head or neck injury if the gymnast does not rotate enough. The trick is so perilous that McKayla Maroney, who successfully performed it in practice, was forbidden to use it in competition by her coach. The now-retired gymnast, who took home the silver medal in the vault event at the 2012 London Summer Olympics, told The Washington Post, “The thing about double backs that's really dangerous is it's like once you're going for it, you're going for it."

Whether Biles attempts the heart-stopping feat again at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics — rumored to be her last — remains to be seen. However, the 24-year-old — who successfully defended her all-around title and took top billing on the balance beam and floor exercise at the US Classic — is certainly not going to need it to add to her impressive collection of five Olympic medals and 25 World Championship medals!

Resources: WashingtonPost.com, CNN.com, Twitter.com

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178 Comments
  • dogolover99
    dogolover99Friday, June 18, 2021 at 11:42 am
    Wow! I don't do gymnastics, but, it sounds awesome! #GoSimoneBiles!
    • armenia_forever
      armenia_foreverMonday, June 14, 2021 at 12:55 pm
      She is in a new movie!!! My favorite gymnast!!!
      • pandapal
        pandapalMonday, June 14, 2021 at 10:41 am
        I also used to do gymnastics, but I stopped because of the virus last year.
        • wolfieland
          wolfielandMonday, June 14, 2021 at 9:51 am
          I used to do gymnastics but I stinked at it so I quit at it. She's like 10,000 times better then me.
          • kittylover111
            kittylover111Monday, June 14, 2021 at 9:59 am
            Omg, same @wolfieland! It was hard, plus, I didn't do it when I was little. So its hard.
          • howls
            howlsMonday, June 14, 2021 at 5:39 am
            I'm the biggest loser when it comes to flips :'( :'( :'(
            • kittylover111
              kittylover111Monday, June 14, 2021 at 9:58 am
              Hey, I did gymnastics, but quit after a couple classes. Some things are just not meant for you, but you can still try!
              • wolfieland
                wolfielandMonday, June 14, 2021 at 9:49 am
                Don't feel bad, I can't even do one on a trampoline...
                • puppyoreo
                  puppyoreoFriday, June 18, 2021 at 2:45 pm
                  Me to, I went to visit my friends and I couldn't even do one flip
                  • metalfacevillan
                    metalfacevillanMonday, June 14, 2021 at 11:06 am
                    practice makes perfect. never give up.
                • owlfox
                  owlfoxSunday, June 13, 2021 at 6:02 pm
                  Yess! U go girl! I've always wanted to do stuff like that, so i took gymnastics lessons, and let me tell u, it's harder than it looks lol! #cheeringforSimoneBiles
                  • angelachang
                    angelachangSunday, June 13, 2021 at 7:13 am
                    wow!
                    • spacefan212713
                      spacefan212713Sunday, June 13, 2021 at 2:40 am
                      I can do stuff like that
                      • ivyian
                        ivyianSunday, June 13, 2021 at 12:35 am
                        That indeed is an amazing thing to do! It truly requires both courage and a large amount of practices.............
                        • slitherskin99
                          slitherskin99Saturday, June 12, 2021 at 8:33 am
                          Simone Bikes is the best😍