Simone Biles competed her new Yurchenko double pike for the first time at Saturday’s U.S. Classic. She is the first woman to compete the skill (and likely the first woman to train it).
Biles successfully landed the vault, but took a hop and then step back.
“I was just thinking: do it like training,” she said on NBCSN. “I have a tendency, as soon as I raise my hand, to overpower things, which I did.”
Biles received a score of 16.1 for the vault (6.6 difficulty, 9.5 execution). No other gymnast at the U.S. Classic (in either session) received more than 15 points on vault.
Because the vault is new, it was given a provisional difficulty value by FIG (6.6), but Biles believes it is worth 6.8.
U.S. high-performance team coordinator Tom Forster agrees. “It’s undervalued at a 6.6,” he said after today’s competition.
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So what exactly is a Yurchenko double pike?
In any Yurchenko vault, the gymnast does a round-off onto the springboard, back handspring onto the vaulting table, and then flips into the air.
Most gymnasts add difficulty by incorporating twists to their single flip. In the past, Biles has done an Amanar vault: a Yurchenko with two-and-a-half twists.
But instead of twisting, Biles’ new vault includes a second flip, done in a pike position.
On Friday, Biles was asked why – when looking to add more difficulty to her vault – she decided to go for a second flip, rather than adding another half twist to her Amanar.
“Timing is everything on the table,” she said. “It’s a little bit risky to try to replicate that block [for the triple twist] every single time. So the double pike just seems a little bit more manageable for myself.”
“I think the only thing that made us train it seriously was that we had the extra year,” she said.
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While Biles took a hop and step when she landed the Yurchenko double pike in competition, her warm-up vault moments earlier was cleaner.
The U.S. Classic marked Biles’ first competition in 587 days.Follow @AlexAzziNBC
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