Simone Biles Lands a First in Her Return

Gymnast performs Yurchenko double pike in winning US Classic
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2021 10:35 AM CDT
Biles Lands Historic Vault in Her Return
Simone Biles performs the vault Saturday in Indianapolis.   (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

Simone Biles hadn't performed competitively since 2019, so no one knew how she'd do Saturday at the US Classic. She did well. Biles posted the highest scores on the vault, beam and floor, the Washington Post reports, in winning the all-around title. But Biles broke ground along the way, becoming the first woman to perform a Yurchenko double pike in competition. The historic vault required her, after pushing off the table with her hands, to flip twice in a piked position. The maximum score for the vault isn't much higher than for others—16.600, which Biles disagrees with—so there were questions about why she would bother. "Because I can do it!" she said. "And it will still be named after me. ... I know it's not the correct value that we want, but I can still do it, so why not just show off my ability and athleticism?"

The defending world and Olympic champion also performed a new floor routine in Indianapolis, per Sports Illustrated, that received a score of 14.250. Her day wasn't perfect: Biles fell during her floor routine and on the bars. She acknowledged that those mistakes were unusual but said, "I'm not really mad about today." The pandemic shutdown and Olympics delay only gave Biles time to improve and get more creative. She'd done the Yurchenko in practice over the weekend, drawing the admiration of LeBron James, among others. Biles, 24, plans to do it again, per the AP. Next month is the US championships. Team USA posted video of the vault here. (More Simone Biles stories.)

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