4 Revolutionary Gymnastics Techniques Inspired by Simone Biles

Simone Biles is rewriting the gymnastics book. Floor, beam, and vault are named for her, ensuring her legacy in the sport.

The International Gymnastics Federation only names skills after gymnasts who perform them at big international competitions like the Olympics. Biles says her four designated skills are a logical progression of her gymnastic ability. Most were added after she or her trainers decided she could add a twist or flip to challenge herself.

Biles may have a fifth skill titled after her in the Code of Points at the Tokyo Olympics—a risky Yurchenko double pike vault only male gymnasts have performed. Biles trained the vault at podium training in Tokyo on July 22, but it’s unclear if she will try it in the team event, all-around event, or vault final. In one of those competitions, she may vault “because I can,” she added.

This technique involves Biles flipping twice in the air with an extended body. She adds a half twist before landing, making her landing blind. Biles’ former coach Aimee Boorman said her “air sense” makes blind landings easy.

This technique requires Biles to flip backwards twice and twist three times. She needs a lot of power to fly high enough to finish tumbling. Biles’ coach urged her to try another flip because of her floor power and lift. “He said, ‘I think you can do another twist, let’s just play with it and in a few months, I think this might come easily,’” Biles said. He was right—her display of this skill is a hit.

Balance beam: Biles (double twisting, double backflip dismount)

Biles flips spectacularly on balancing beam, with a double-double dismount that even Olympic winners can’t believe. Biles flips and twists twice. At the 2019 World Championships, the judges demoted her skill because to safety concerns to deter other gymnasts from trying it. Biles quickly protested and dubbed the ruling “bullsh-t” on social media. As usual, she noted that “they had an open-ended code of points and now they’re mad that people are too far ahead and excelling.” Biles demonstrated the new feat at the June Olympic Trials and will likely do so again in Tokyo.

Vault Biles (Yurchenko half-on, two twists)

The Yurchenko is difficult because it starts with a round off into a back hand spring onto vault. Biles flies from there. She half-turns and twists twice before landing. This vault is challenging because it requires power and precision to twist and land safely.

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