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What's a Yurchenko double pike? Simone Biles shows us, making history in the process -

What’s a Yurchenko double pike? Simone Biles shows us, making history in the process


Even if you’re a women’s gymnastics fan, you may have never heard of a Yurchenko double pike.

That’s OK. It’s an extremely difficult vault move that no woman had ever attempted in competition — until Simone Biles did so Saturday night.

Pretty sure you’ve heard of her.


Biles made history at the U.S. Classic in Indianapolis simply by trying the maneuver, which involves a roundoff onto the springboard, a handspring onto the vault and a double backflip in a pike position before the landing. It had previously been attempted in competition only by men.

And she pulled it off.

The only slight flaw came on the landing, when Biles’ momentum carried her backward a step or two.


“I was just thinking, ‘Do it like training. Don’t try to like overdo anything,’” Biles said, “because I have a tendency as soon as I raise my hand to kind of overpower things, and I did a little bit, but at least I was on my feet. It’s a new vault and I’m proud of how today went.”

She received a score of 16.100, higher than either of the vaults that made her the 2016 Olympic gold medalist in the event (to go along with her gold medals in the all-around, floor and team competitions and bronze on beam that summer).

And she did it all Saturday while wearing a leotard with a rhinestone goat (as in GOAT or greatest of all time) on the back.


The world got a sneak peek at Biles’ new move a day earlier, when SportsCenter retweeted a clip of the reigning world champion nailing it in practice. The tweet has received more than 23,000 likes, a retweet from Lakers star LeBron James (who commented “MY GOODNESS”) obtained an additional 34,000 likes.

With an all-around score of 58.400, Biles had no trouble repeating as the U.S. Classic champion. Still, she felt her scores could have been higher. She felt the International Gymnastics Federation gave two of her moves — the Yurchenko double pike and her double-twisting, double-back dismount on the beam — starting values that did not reflect their extreme difficulty. That placed a limit on how high her scores on the maneuvers could be, no matter how well she executed them.


Simone Biles performs her balance beam routine during the U.S. Classic gymnastics competition May 22 in Indianapolis.

(AJ Mast / Associated Press)


Biles told the New York Times she thought the federation was trying to keep the competition close.

“They’re both too low and they even know it,” Biles said of the starting values for the two moves. “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.”

Biles added that she planned to continue performing such maneuvers, even if they are undervalued in the scoring column.



“Because I can,” she told the New York Times.

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