American gymnast Simone Biles once again turned heads around by effortlessly performing the Yurchenko double pike at the Tokyo Olympics podium training on Friday.
Biles became the only female gymnast to attempt the move in competition when she landed it at the 2021 US Classic tournament in May. Many fans wondered whether she will showcase the move at the Tokyo Olympics. After all, she dominated the 2019 World Championships finals without the Yurchenko double pike in her arsenal.
At the event, Biles' combined D-score in the two vault attempts was 13.800. She was tied with second-placed Jade Carey but took the gold courtesy of her higher execution score.
Given its risky nature, it is understandable if Biles decides not to perform it at the Tokyo Olympics. But with her podium training, she has put all doubts to rest.
What is Simone Biles' Yurchenko double pike?
Yurchenko Double Pike has the highest difficulty in the vault as per the Code of Points. It is assigned a 6.6 D-score, with Produnova - nicknamed the Vault of Death - coming second at 6.4.
The Yurchenko double pike begins with the gymnast performing a round into the springboard. The pre-flight phase is complete after the gymnast executes a back handspring onto the horse.
In the flight phase, the gymnast performs two pike rotations, which no other female athlete has done so far. In a pike rotation, the gymnast's hip angle is less than 90 degrees. The hands are magnetized to the knees, which are kept straight while the legs are stuck together.
What makes a pike dangerous is that the gymnast has no spatial awareness. Biles performs not one but two such rotations. She will have no room for correction if she gets one step wrong. It needs to be poetry in motion.