Simone Biles’s New Vault May Be Too Dangerous for 2020 Olympics

The Yurchenko double pike might be too risky for Tokyo

Simone Biles's New Vault May Be Too Dangerous for Olympics
Simone Biles reacts after an exercise on the ground. (Tom Weller/picture alliance via Getty)
By Evan Bleier / February 10, 2020 9:13 am

At the 2020 Summer Olympics, Simone Biles may choose to boldly go where no woman has gone before.

In a tweet she put out last week, the four-time Olympic gold medalist showed off a new vault that a female gymnast has never pulled off in competition.

Check it out:

That right there is a Yurchenko double pike, a maneuver that traces its name back to Natalia Yurchenko, the Soviet world champion gymnast who pioneered that specific approach into the vault in the 1980s.

Along with a two-and-a-half twist known as an Amanar, Biles’s take on the Yurchenko contains a pair of flips with her legs in the “pike” position (hips bent and knees straight).

A Yurchenko with a double flip that doesn’t rotate enough could result in serious head or neck injuries, a situation Biles, who is just 22, obviously wants to avoid.

“Right now, my mindset is to kind of take everything one day at a time, one step at a time because you never know what will happen and you can’t take any training for granted,” Biles told PEOPLE in 2019. “Kind of live in the moment.”

A handful of male gymnasts have safely completed the Yurchenko double pike during competition. Will Biles be the first female to pull it off?

We’ll have to wait until this summer to find out.

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