Simone Biles becomes first woman in history to land Yurchenko double pike in competition

Difficult move makes a splash during Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast’s first competition in 18 months

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Sunday 23 May 2021 22:58 BST
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Simone Biles performs during the vault at the US Classic gymnastics event in Indianapolis, Saturday, 22 May 22, 2021
Simone Biles performs during the vault at the US Classic gymnastics event in Indianapolis, Saturday, 22 May 22, 2021 (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

Simone Biles made history as she became the first female gymnast to land a Yurchenko double pike in competition.

Biles, 24, successfully pulled off the move at the US Classic in Indianapolis on Saturday, one day after previewing it during a training session.

The gymnast performed it while wearing a white leotard with a rhinestone goat on it, as a nod to her status as the greatest of all time.

After her performance Biles was critical of the sport’s points system, which rates the Yurchenko double pike only just ahead of far less difficult vaults.

“To finally just put it out in a competition was quite nice, I know it’s not the correct value that we want, but I can still do it, so why not show off my ability and athleticism,” she said.

“That’s on the [International Federation of Gymnastics], that’s not on me,” she added.

“They have an open-end code of points, and now they’re mad people are too far ahead and excelling.”

The highly difficult move involves Biles performing a backwards handspring onto the vault, followed by two backflips with straight legs and her hands clasping the back of her legs.

Biles, who had the best all-around score at the event of 58.400, won four gold medals and a bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

She will now compete in the US Olympic team trials in June, before heading to the Tokyo Olympics in July.

“The first woman in history to land a Yurchenko double pike in competition. Our jaws are on the floor. @Simone_Biles is still in the air,” tweeted Team USA.

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