Simone Biles Lands Historic Double Pike Vault Ahead of Tokyo Olympics

During podium training on Friday ahead of Saturday's U.S. Classic, Simone Biles casually showed off her latest move: the Yurchenko double pike.

Simone Biles

Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Simone Biles

Simone Biles is already the greatest gymnast of all time. But as she looks ahead to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, the four-time gold medalist decided to attempt a move no female gymnast has ever landed before: the Yurchenko double pike.

During podium training for this weekend’s 2021 U.S. Classic, the 24-year-old was seen successfully landing the historic vault, which is named after the 1980s Russian world champion Natalia Yurchenko and consists of a roundoff, then a back handspring, before ending with a piked double backflip. 

“It’s very, very challenging and what’s scary is people can get hurt,” Biles’ coach Laurent Landi told 60 Minutes in February. “You do a short landing, you can hurt your’s a very dangerous vault.” 

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“I was really nervous chalking up,” Biles told ESPN on Friday. “I was like, ‘It’s OK, I’ve done this so many times.’ I’ve been doing it for months now. So I felt prepared and I knew I was prepared, it was just the initial landing out there in the arena.”

Even Biles wasn’t sure she would be able to land such a historic move. 

“We were just flipping to flip, to see what I could do … but never in a million years did I think that it would be feasible and to actually put it out on a competition floor,” she said

Biles will perform on Saturday evening, for the first time in more than 18 months, in the U.S. Classic in Indianapolis, Indiana. The 24-year-old gymnast is slated to compete later this summer at the Tokyo Olympic Games. It’s not clear if or when Biles will attempt the Yurchenko double pike in competition. 

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