Simone Biles made an extraordinary return to the global gymnastics stage, grabbing the spotlight with her remarkable performance during the women’s all-around qualification at the 2023 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships. 

 Her astounding achievement was marked by the historic execution of the Yurchenko double pike vault at an international competition, a feat never before accomplished by a female gymnast. 

Stepping confidently onto the vault apparatus, Biles launched herself into the air, executing a series of precise twists and turns, creating a mesmerizing blue blur. Her landing was executed with such finesse that she needed only a single backward step, etching her name in gymnastics history books. 

 This groundbreaking skill has now been officially named the “Biles II” in tribute to the 19-time world champion, adding to her impressive tally of five named elements. 

The Yurchenko double pike vault, historically reserved for male gymnasts due to its high difficulty, involves a sequence of movements, including a roundoff onto the springboard, a back handspring onto the vaulting table, and a final piked double backflip before landing gracefully. 

Biles concluded her qualifying session with an impressive all-around score of 58.865, securing her position at the top of the leaderboard. Her performance also placed her in a commanding position to advance to all four individual finals and the all-around final scheduled later in the week. 

Following the qualifying round, the 26-year-old sensation held first place in three apparatus categories: floor, vault, and balance beam, with the second spot on the uneven bars, behind her teammate Shilese Jones.  

The United States team collectively posted an outstanding qualifying score of 171.395. While other teams were yet to complete their own qualifying rounds, it seemed virtually assured that the Americans would secure a spot in the team final, given that their score exceeded the 167.263 that had placed them first in the previous year. 

This marked Biles’ triumphant return to the global stage since the Tokyo 2020 Games, where she withdrew from several events due to the mental challenge known as the “twisties,” which causes gymnasts to lose track of their positions mid-air. 

 Since then, she has once again demonstrated the exceptional qualities that have propelled her to the pinnacle of the sport, clinching a record eighth national all-around title. 

Additionally, by participating in Antwerp, Biles achieved another historic milestone as the first woman to represent the United States at six artistic world championships, solidifying her status as an icon in the sport. 

Meanwhile, in men’s gymnastics, the U.S. team secured its spot in the team competition at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris by qualifying for the team final, finishing in second place behind Japan. 





Photo @ Courtesy: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images 

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