Simone Biles Leads the Vault After Her Row Without Double Pike

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Everyone in the sport is talking about when Simone Biles will try the breathtaking Yurchenko double spear vault at the Olympics. Apparently it wasn’t during qualifying. And even without it, it did well enough to be top of the register when it was its turn.

Instead, Biles built two vaults that are somewhat common for top gymnasts. The first was a Cheng in a half-twist, one-and-a-half twist front layout on the case. He took a big step on the landing, got off the mat immediately, and then rolled his eyes.

His second case was an Amanar with a rear hand spring on the case in a two-and-a-half curvy rear layout.

Currently in first place in the bank with 15,183 points, second place is Jade Carey from the USA.

Biles wants to make a double spear during these Games so there may be another skill named after him. However, there is a risk in trying it, given that the margin of error is so thin. He does a round backhand arc to the jumping table and propels it with his hands, throwing his 4-foot-8 body into the air high enough to complete two full backs in a folded position before landing on his feet.

Other gymnasts are amazed at her bravery and physical ability, and even herself marvels at herself. Before the pandemic, Biles never thought that Yurchenko would try the double spear in competition. But the extra training time given to him after the Olympics was postponed was just what he needed to hone the vault and feel comfortable with it.

Even now, there is a possibility of disaster. If he can’t turn fast enough and land flat on his feet, he risks breaking his already aching ankles or incurring a neck or head injury. The other terrifying thing about the vault that only a handful of guys can do successfully is that once it’s blown through the air, you can’t get rid of it. He wouldn’t be able to stop his speed.

He showed the public safe for the first time during the practice session for the US Classic in May, after which he entered the competition. But the judges kept his difficulty score low, meaning he wasn’t given credit for the risk he took. He later said he wouldn’t discuss it because he didn’t want to look like a brat, but would continue to advance the sport whether or not his scores reflected his greatness.

Maggie Astor contributing reporting.

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