With time and a top notch gym available to her after the 2020 Olympics postponed, Simone Biles began experimenting to avoid the monotony of training.
Pretty soon a vault she was occasionally tinkering with for fun – the Yurchenko double pike – looked like a vault she could pull off in competition.
What if historically it was only done by men? What if the International Gymnastics Federation seemed intent on not giving the vault a level of difficulty commensurate with its complexity?
The vault exists. She can do it. So why not She didn’t stay here another year just to play around. She stayed here to continue making history.
So she did. Again.
Biles seemed magnetized to her hamstrings as she stepped off the vaulting table. During her victory at the US Classic in Indianapolis on Saturday night, Biles drilled the Yurchenko double pike. The 24-year-old defending champion and Olympic champion generated so much momentum that she made a couple of big jumps on landing before giving a half-relieved smile.
Get ready to add another element in her name to the sport’s scoring code, even if she thinks the starting value of 6.6 for the Yurchenko pike – just a tick over significantly less difficult vaults – isn’t that high is how it should be.
“That’s on the [International Federation of Gymnastics]”It’s not me,” said Biles. ” They have an open points code and now they are crazy people who are too far ahead and excel. “
And no one in sports has ever surpassed as much as Biles. Her total score of 58,400 on her first event in more than 18 months was sure to be the best of the night, despite having shorted her descent on floor exercises and sailed off the uneven bars.
“I’m not really mad today,” she said.
No reason to be. After teasing the Yurchenko pike for almost a year and then revealing it during practice on Friday – a move that caught the attention of the likes of Lakers star LeBron James – Biles made it official before the women who tried to join her on the Olympic team this summer.
Wearing a white leotard with a rhinestone goat – a nod to her status as the greatest of all time – Biles sprinted down the runway, made a lap on the diving board, followed by a handspring on the vault, and ended up with two kickbacks with her ramrod legs straight and her hands clutch the back of her legs.
It wasn’t quite perfect. Do not worry; She will have more chances in the next two months. Although she disagrees with the way it is being judged, she has no plans to stop throwing it.
“I know it’s not the right thing, but I can do it anyway,” said Biles. “So why not just put my skills and my athleticism to the test?”
As always for Biles, whose place on the US Olympic team has been secured. The other spots stay up in the air, though Jordan Chiles tries hard to join good friend Biles on the plane to Tokyo.
The 20-year-old proved that her win in the Winter Cup in February was no accident. Chiles finished second in the all-round (57,100) after Biles and finished in the top four in each of the four events.
“I [proved] I can do this multiple times and not just once, “said Chiles.
Kayla DiCello finished third, carried by a win in bars. The 17-year-old was in the mix to play the Olympics a year ago but said the decision to postpone the Games to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic helped her as she had time to do her Routines required for parting make difficult even from a talented and crowded field.
It’s a field that includes 2017 all-around world champion Morgan Hurd. The 19-year-old took part in beam and floor exercises in her first competition since March 2020. With slightly watered down routines, her results have not been where they are needed in time for the Olympic exams in late June.
However, Hurd does not panic.
“Yeah, I was shaky, but usually at the top of mine [competition] Season I’m a little shaky and a little sloppy and not at my best, “she said.” I don’t want to be great now. I want to be great later. “
Sunisa Lee, who won three medals at the 2019 World Championships, came from both bars – her trademark – and Beam. Riley McCusker, a member of the 2018 World Cup team, appeared to have injured her left leg on the vault and she is currently under investigation. MyKayla Skinner, a 2016 Olympic alternative and three-time World Championship team member, came out of the beam but dug two vaults at their first meeting in a range of health issues including battles with COVID-19 and pneumonia.
“It was interesting to see a little more falls [overall] than what we expected, “said the national team coordinator, Tom Forster.”[But] We have missed so many competitions since 2019.
“Those who were really ready went up, that’s what it looks like, I guess [the Olympic picture] seems clear. “
Chellsie Memmel clenched her fists for joy after landing her vault at her first competition meeting in more than nine years. The 2005 all-round world champion and the 2008 Olympic silver medalist of 13,750 played no role. Neither a nervous blasting routine that ended with an 11,800. On Saturday it was about simply arriving at the moment yourself.
“I was just overwhelmingly happy that it went well today,” said Memmel. “Of course, Beam, I should have done better, but I’m still happy with everything I’ve done and happy that I was on the ground, that I stood there to even get to that point, to try again, to sign up and enter a competition. “
Memmel is applying for a place at next month’s national championships, which will be accepted, according to Tom Forster, coordinator of the women’s national team.