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WATCH: Simone Biles nails a previously mens-only vault, all while wearing a rhinestone-encrusted GOAT leotard


by Sarah Finnan
25th May 2021

Haley Bonin / Instagram

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Simone Biles landed one of the most impressive moves any gymnast could land, but her score doesn’t seem to reflect that… why?

American gymnast Simone Biles has made history once again, this time for being the first woman to ever land a Yurchenko double pike in competition. Already the most-decorated female gymnast in world championship history, she landed the move at the GK US Classic in Indianapolis over the weekend. 

Back after a seven-week break, the event marks the athlete’s return to competition. Deciding to take some time off after the Olympics were pushed out once again, Biles is back with a vengeance, and judging by her performance over the weekend, she’s more than ready to take on the opposition in Tokyo later this summer. 

Impressing onlookers with the highly technical vault, the move involves a roundoff onto a springboard followed by a back handspring onto a vault, followed by a double backflip in a pike position to stick a landing. Difficult to describe and even more difficult to do, but Biles made it look easy. Tweeting a clip of the star gymnast in action, the Team USA Twitter account claimed that their “jaws are still on the floor”, as are ours. Watch the move below if you must see it to believe it. 

Dialling up the difficulty of her routine, the defending world champion attempted the Yurchenko double pike which historically, has only been done by men. The first woman to ever successfully land the move in competition, her scoreboard doesn’t necessarily seem to reflect just how impressive a feat it was. And Biles thinks so too. 

Though she was happy overall with how the competition went, she also thinks that some of her scores could have been higher (she received a score of 16.100), telling the New York Times that she feels the International Gymnastics Federation gave two of her moves (the Yurchenko double pike and her double-twisting, double back dismount on the beam) values that didn’t reflect their difficulty. 

Admitting that she suspects the federation was trying to keep the competition close, she commented, “they’re both too low and they even know it. But they don’t want the field to be too far apart, and that’s just something that’s on them. That’s not on me.”

A bit of a risky move on the federation’s part, who seem to be punishing Biles (for lack of a better word) for being so far ahead of the curve. Wanting to keep the competition somewhat level is one thing, but it feels wrong to prioritise that over recognising the momentous achievements of the sport’s greatest-ever athlete. Thankfully, the scoreboard hasn’t discouraged Biles from continuing to attempt other such ambitious moves and she later told the New York Times that she still plans on performing such manoeuvres – even if they’re undervalued. 

A moment for her diamante embellished leotard too, please. White with multi-coloured lines in the shape of a firework on the front, it’s the rhinestone goat head on the back that really caught people’s attention. Already the most decorated gymnast (male or female) at worlds and the proud winner of four Olympic gold medals and five all-around titles at the world championships, I don’t think anyone has any doubts that Simone Biles really is the GOAT (greatest of all time).