Simone Biles pushes the limits of gymnastics at the 2021 US Open Trials
ST. Louis — If gravity can’t control Simone Biles, do your best to the International Gymnastics Federation.
Biles revived her double-twisted, double-somersault disembarkation on the balance beam for the first time in almost two years at the Olympic trial on Friday night. It’s an incredibly difficult skill, and no other woman will try it. However, in its infinite wisdom, FIG refuses to give accurate credit because it does not want to give ideas to other incompetent gymnasts.
“I can do that, and it’s still an upgrade and it’s safe,” Billes told USATODAY Sports in April. “It doesn’t add too much starting value to my routine, but I can do it, and I think people will come to see those skills.”
This is, among many other reasons, the failure of FIG’s Faddy Daddy. The average person may not know exactly what double-double is. Or why can’t all gymnasts do it?
But they know that Biles is doing something in another world, and it’s pretty cool to see it. If you are a leader in sports, especially those that do not have a regular place in the spotlight, why don’t you want to encourage it?
For those who don’t know the inside story, every element of gymnastics has numbers. As the difficulty of the skill increases, so does its value. Based on previous advances, Biles’ double-double should have been worth an additional three-tenths of the points.
Instead, FIG’s Women’s Technical Committee said it was only worth a tenth of the additional value.
Their explanation? They wanted to save other gymnasts from themselves.
“When assigning values to new elements, the WTC takes into account many different aspects: risk, gymnast safety, and the technical direction of discipline,” he said at the time. “There are additional risks to double-salt landing for beam disembarkation (with or without twist), including the possibility of landing on the neck.
“There are many examples to strengthen … A decision was made to protect the gymnast and maintain the direction of discipline.”
Well, there are definitely gymnasts that need to be suppressed. (Yes, some of the vault specialists, I’m looking directly at you.) But Biles isn’t one of them. She pushes the boundaries of sport, but it’s not a reckless way.
Biles’ score on the balance beam on Friday night was 15.133, which included 8.333 for execution. This was in line with the highest run score of the night at the event. This shows that she not only has the athletic ability to elicit skills that other gymnasts cannot even understand, but also trains them to perfection.
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The open-ended scoring system was created in part to drive innovation, and Biles does just that. Biles on the beam should not be confused with Biles I during floor exercise. Or floor exercise Biles II. Or the vault Biles. Or the upcoming Biles II in the vault.
And now FIG is losing that nerve.
Not fully trusting that beam’s disembarkation, or Yurchenko’s first double-pike vault at the US Classic in May, FIG tried to discourage Biles from pushing both his limits and the limits of his sport. I am.
But FIG really should know better now.
Biles has already established himself as the greatest gymnast the sport has ever seen. This is a four-time Olympic gold medalist who has won more medals at the World Championships than any other gymnast, male or female. At some point in her career, the motivation to collect more medals and titles may have been sufficient, but it is no longer the case.
“I feel this time it’s my own. You can go out and test your limits,” she said. “I have already stamped my status, and whatever happens (in Tokyo), it happens, but I’m going to figure out how far I can go in this sport.”
Other countries in the world are aware of what a gift is to witness it. It’s a pity that I can’t do FIG.
Follow USA TODAY Sports columnist Nancy Armor on Twitter @ nrarmour.
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