Simone Biles Just Landed a Vault No Female Gymnast Has in Competition Before

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·3 min read
Simone Biles Just Landed a Vault No Female Gymnast Has in Competition Before
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  • Simone Biles landed a dangerous and difficult Yurchenko double pike twice during practice for the U.S. Classic competition.

  • No female gymnast has completed the move in competition before.

  • Simone is considering including the Yurchenko double pike vault in the upcoming Olympics.

As Simone Biles, 24, prepares for the grand finale of her gymnastics career at the Tokyo Olympics, she's testing her limits at every turn — or backflip. In a practice session for the U.S. Classic, Simone nailed a Yurchenko double pike not once but twice. If she lands the notoriously-difficult move in Saturday's Classic, she will become the first-ever woman to land it in competition. (Casual.)

Named for Soviet gymnast Natalia Yurchenko, the Yurchenko vault includes a round-off onto the board, then a back handspring or back handspring with a full twist onto the table, and a flip off of the table. A Yurchenko double pike adds a second flip. It is especially dangerous because it requires a gymnast to pick up an incredible amount of speed while approaching the vault and clear the vault mid-back-handspring. From the vault, the gymnast does a double flip while keeping her legs straight.

Simone shows exactly how it's done in the Twitter clips below.

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Simone has debated bringing this move to the Olympics, and she told Texas Monthly in March that she's considering it. "I feel like it might be a better bet to do it in the all-around final because you do get that one-touch warm up, rather than vault finals where you don’t," she said. "So I feel like we just have to go in and weigh the options, see what’s smart, get a feel of the vault."

Even though the move is so difficult, Simone said she hasn't struggled as much as she thought she would. "So far, we’ve been training it pretty consistently and there haven’t been too many times where I was like, 'Oh, that was really scary. Maybe we shouldn’t do that.' It’s actually been like, 'Wow, this is feasible, we can do this,'" she explained. "And that’s kind of the scary part, me testing my limits, proving myself wrong, and being like, 'Dang, Simone you can do this. That’s insane.' Honestly, at this age, I feel like I would kind of start going down, but I’m still going up."

At 24, Simone is one of the oldest gymnasts on the U.S. gymnastics team, and many gymnasts retire in the early twenties. She has said Tokyo will be her last Olympic Games. "I think people forget that, because I’m doing things that are unheard of," she told Texas Monthly. "They’re like, 'Well, her body must be in tip-top shape,' which it is. But I still have those random aches and pains. And some days I don’t feel good, but then you have to force yourself to get out there and go for it. So I do feel like they forget, because they think I’m superhuman. But at the end of the day, I’m on the side stretching and stretching, and I have to do extra work and be cautious because I am getting a little bit older."

It certainly looks like Simone is still going up, up, up.

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