After a hiatus from competition, reigning world champion and 24-year-old native Texan, Simone Biles is back to dominating gymnastics once again.
Biles has been competing at the highest level for a decade and is in great condition as she has her sights set on the Tokyo Olympics. On Saturday Biles won the 2021 GK U.S. Classic title in Indianapolis with a score of 58.4. While her score was 1 point higher than any other gymnast even with an imperfect bar routine, that was not the highlight of the competition.
Biles had been working on a specific vault move for over a year and debuted it during the competition. Not only did she debut this move, she also made history by becoming the first woman to land a Yurchenko double pike on the vault. The degree of difficulty for this skill is high. So high that the Russian gymnast the move was named after, Natalia Yurchenko, never tried the move in competition. It was no coincidence that there was a rhinestoned image of a goat on the back of her leotard. Biles is quite literally leaps and bounds above the competition, making her easily one of the greatest of all time.
Biles is so great that the sport hasn’t even caught up with her as was reflected in her 6.6 score. “I feel like now we just have to get what we get because there’s no point in putting up a fight because they’re not going to reward it,” Biles said of judges. “So we just have to take it and be quiet.”
When the International Gymnastics Federation officially recognizes the move, it will most likely become the 5th skill named after Biles. While Yurchenko pioneered the skill of the approach to the vault in the roundoff-back-handspring, Biles engineered and mastered the rest.
Via GK U.S. Classic news:
While Biles’ 16.100 on vault led all competitors, MyKayla Skinner of Gilbert, Ariz./Desert Lights Gymnastics claimed the apparatus title by showing two separate vaults averaging 14.675. Biles posted high scores on balance beam (14.850) and floor exercise (14.250). Kayla DiCello of Boyds, Md./Hill’s Gymnastics, who finished third in the all-around, topped the field on uneven bars with a 14.600.
Ava Siegfeldt of Williamsburg, Va./World Class Gymnastics became the final senior gymnast to qualify to the all-around at the upcoming U.S. Gymnastics Championships, earning a 52.700. Twenty-nine additional gymnasts were previously qualified coming into the weekend. The national championship event is set to take place June 3-6 at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth and will feature junior and senior men’s and women’s divisions.
The top three 2021 GK U.S. Classic individual placements are listed below by event.
- All-around: 1. Simone Biles, Spring, Texas/World Champions Centre, 58.400; 2. Jordan Chiles, Spring, Texas/World Champions Centre, 57.100; 3. Kayla DiCello, Boyds, Md./Hill’s Gymnastics, 56.100
- Vault: 1. MyKayla Skinner, Gilbert, Ariz./Desert Lights Gymnastics, 14.675
- Uneven bars: 1. Kayla DiCello, Boyds, Md./Hill’s Gymnastics, 14.600; 2. Jordan Chiles, Spring, Texas/World Champions Centre, 14.150; 3. Skye Blakely, Frisco, Texas/WOGA Gymnastics, 14.050
- Balance beam: 1. Simone Biles, Spring, Texas/World Champions Centre, 14.850; 2. Leanne Wong, Overland Park, Kan./Great American Gymnastics Express, 14.450; 3. Kara Eaker, Grain Valley, Mo./Great American Gymnastics Express, 14.100
- Floor exercise: 1. Simone Biles, Spring, Texas/World Champions Centre, 14.250; 2. Jordan Chiles, Spring, Texas/World Champions Centre, 13.950; 3. Kayla DiCello, Boyds, Md./Hill’s Gymnastics, 13.850
Biles continues to push the sport forward in new and exciting ways. After the competition Biles said, “It was really exciting competing it because I’ve been working so hard on it in the gym. And to finally just put it out in a competition was really nice, so I feel pretty confident going into championships.”
Biles credits her desire to push herself to curiosity. “[Post Rio Olympics] We were just flipping to flip to kind of see what I could do and what I was capable of, but never in a million years did I think it was going to be feasible to actually put it out on a competition floor,” Biles said. “It was just to play around, be a kid.”
The legacy that Biles if forging out for herself is unparalleled. Having already accomplished the goal of becoming an Olympic champion, Biles has expressed a desire to see how far she can take the competition with herself in pushing her own limits.
SA Women’s gymnastics team head coach Aimee Boorman weighed in on Twitter about Biles’ accomplishment saying, “I love how she’s had all these skills in her arsenal just waiting for the right time. We always kept things fun, (crazy was fun) & now she has the maturity and support to train those skills up to be competition ready. This is why there is no reason to rush in gymnastics. Adult women can do amazing skills with confidence, by their choice.”
And yet, her new skill was not given the credit it deserves. Tom Forster, the United States women’s national team coordinator, agreed that the 6.6 score was not high enough. “It doesn’t seem to be consistent with what they’ve done with other vault values,” Forster said, “and I don’t know why they do that.”
There are some pretty obvious theories as to why Biles’ greatness is not being recognized properly. Biles, however is not letting that discourage her from being great.
“They’re both too low and they even know it,” Biles said of the scoring for her beam dismount and the double-pike vault. “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.”
She went on to say, “They had an open-ended code of points and now they’re mad that people are too far ahead and excelling.”
Biles has an arsenal of moves and dedication to the sport that has placed her in a league of her own. When asked why she continues to push herself and debut moves that aren’t properly recognized, her answer was short and to the point.
She said, “Because I can.”