For the first time since the fall of 2019, star gymnast Simone Biles has returned to competition as a part of the U.S. Classic this weekend in Indianapolis. And if practice is any indication, the Olympic gold medalist remains very much at the top of her game despite her time away from USA Gymnastics.
During practice for the U.S. Classic on Friday, Simone Biles successfully landed a Yurchenko double pike vault, an extremely challenging vault that Biles pulled off not once but twice while preparing for this weekend’s meet in Indiana.
Biles’ Yurchenko double pike is significant in that no woman has ever performed the move in competition. Despite the feat highlighting Biles’ unique abilities, the four-time gold medalist in the 2016 Olympics was very matter of fact about her performance while speaking to reporters.
“I’ve been doing it for months now, so I felt prepared and knew I was prepared,” Biles said in a report by David Barron of the Houston Chronicle. “It was just the initial landing out there in the arena. But once I did it, I felt a lot better.”
Biles attempting the Yurchenko double pike was expected, as it was previewed earlier this year during a 60 Minutes profile. The Yurchenko double pike is not a move for the timid and certainly not for the unskilled, as it involves the gymnast performing a roundoff-back-handspring entry into the vaulting table before two full backward rotations with the legs extended before sticking the landing.
“It’s very challenging, and what’s scary is people can get hurt,” Laurent Landi, one of Biles’ coaches, told 60 Minutes. “You do a short landing, you can hurt your ankles … it’s a very dangerous vault.”
Biles is set to perform during the evening session of the U.S. Classic, which will take place this Saturday ahead of Biles’ planned entry into the Tokyo Olympics later this year.