Back on the front line after a two-year absence, the American Olympic gymnastics superstar, Simone Biles, has already dazzled in her entry into the World Cup in Antwerp, achieving this Sunday (1st) an extremely difficult jump during the qualifiers.
This jump, a “Yurchenko double pike”, will now be known as Biles II. The 26-year-old American is the first woman to do so in an international competition.
She was rewarded with a score of 15,266 points, with a big advantage over her competitors. In total, she accumulates 58,565 points at the end of the four devices and leads the classifications after the first three subdivisions (out of a total of ten).
She began her participation in the qualifiers with a great performance on the uneven bars (14.400), before continuing with impeccable performances on the balance beam (14.566) and floor exercise (14.633).
But it was in jumping on horseback that she impressed the public in the Flemish city.
“She did it! That’s all I can say,” smiled her coach, Frenchman Laurent Landi.
“I hope people realize that this is perhaps the only time in their lives that they will see a jump like this in women’s gymnastics. This should be valued,” she added, about the famous “Yurchenko double pike”, which Biles has mastered since 2021 and which she even planned to hold at the Tokyo Games.
She had to wait for this World Championships in Antwerp to be able to register it in the gymnastics notation code, 21 years after the Chinese Yang Wei did it in the men’s category.
With this jump, which requires power, speed, technique and a sense of timing, Biles names a fifth technical element with her name in the gymnastics code.
Turn the page to Tokyo
Biles did not speak as she passed through the mixed zone, which she walked through quickly and with a huge smile. She will be back at the port city’s Sportpaleis on Wednesday for the women’s team final.
Alongside Shilese Jones, Leanne Wong, Skye Blakely and Joscelyn Roberson, the Americans have accumulated 171.395 points and it will be very difficult to displace them from first place in the rankings.
The American is experiencing her first major international competition in Belgium, two years after the disappointing Tokyo Olympic Games.
She arrived in Japan as a big favorite, after winning four golds five years earlier in Rio 2016, but Biles had a mental breakdown and withdrew from most of the events.
She explained at the time that she was struggling with “twisties”, temporary and brutal losses of references in the air, something that exposes an athlete to a great risk of injury upon landing.
She ended these Tokyo Games with a silver medal in the all-around team competition and a bronze on the balance beam, but her greatest contribution to the sport on this occasion was bringing to light the issue of athletes’ mental health.
Brazil in the competition
The Brazilian women’s team enters the competition at 8am this Monday (2), overall by teams. The events will be broadcast on Sportv3. Competing for Brazil are Rebeca Andrade, Flávia Saraiva, Jade Barbosa, Lorrane Oliveira and Júlia Soares.
This Sunday (1st), the men’s national team failed to qualify as a team for the Olympics by one point, but secured an individual place with 13th place, and another with Diogo Soares in the individual all-around.