Simone Biles just made history by landing the Yurchenko double pike, with the vault to be named after her

Simone Biles just made history by landing the Yurchenko double pike, with the vault to be named after her

Monday 02/10/2023
Simone Biles made headlines in 2021 when she withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics.(Reuters: Yves Herman)

Simone Biles is back doing gymnastics and back making history.

The American gymnast has become the first woman to do the Yurchenko double pike at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Belgium.

It is the first time Biles has competed internationally since taking a two-year break from the sport to work on her mental health.

The skills in gymnastics are named after the first person who does them at a major international competition.

Since performing the Yurchenko double pike in Belgium, the move will now bear Biles's name in the international rule book known as the Code of Points.

Biles now has five skills named after her: one on the balance beam, two on the floor exercise and two on vault -- hence this latest move being the Biles II.

What is the Yurchenko double pike?

The Yurchenko double pike is the most difficult jump in the women's scoring code.

In anticipation of it being performed, the technical committee rated it at 6.4 points.

Biles, who at 26 is the oldest American woman to compete at the worlds, scored 15.266 with a 58.865 total in the all-around.

Yurchenko are a family of vaults in which the gymnast does a round-off onto the springboard and a back handspring onto the horse or vaulting table.

The gymnast then performs a salto (the gymnastics term for somersault) which can range anywhere from a simple single tuck to a complex triple twist layout.

The more difficult your variation, the higher your score will be — if you land on your feet, that is.

Why is it so difficult?

The Yurchenko double pike ups the ante because it involves a second flip, which requires a massive amount of power.

This is where the risk comes in: if the gymnast does not complete the full rotation, they could land on their head.

Who was Yurchenko?

The Yurchenko family of vaults is named after Soviet gymnast Natalia Yurchenko, who first performed it at a competition in Moscow in 1982.

Natalia trained under Russian and Soviet coach Vladislav Rastorotsky, and together they designed a new way of moving onto the vaulting horse.

The Yurchenko vault has seven steps: the run, the hurdle, the take-off, pre-flight, the block, post-flight, and the landing.

Thanks to Biles's historic performance, the US women's team finished their qualifying subdivision at the top of the table and will go for team gold later this week.

What's next for Simone Biles since making her return?

Biles made headlines at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 when she withdrew from multiple events due to the "twisties", a loss of spatial awareness in mid-air.

She made her return last month at the US Gymnastics Championships last month and walked away with an all-around gold medal.

Until now, Biles had not competed at the worlds since the 2019 championships in Stuttgart, where she earned five golds and had her fourth new skill named after her.

The Paris Games next year are her ultimate target but the four-times Olympic champion says she will approach her third Games a bit differently, focusing on being fully fit both physically and mentally.

Story By: Jessica Riga/wires

Original Story link:

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