Simone Biles Is So Good, Gymnastics Is Manipulating Scores to Be “Fair” to Everyone Else
Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles (who also happens to be the most decorated gymnast in history) performed the Yurchenko double pike over the weekend at the U.S. Classic. The New York Times described the move as "so perilous and challenging that no other woman has attempted it in competition, and it is unlikely that any woman in the world is even training to give it a try."
Just in case anyone missed it, here it is, retweeted by none other than LeBron James:
After she landed the move, she earned a 6.6, which is within the same range as her less challenging vaults. It seemed as though the judges, unlike the rest of the world, were unimpressed, because Biles and United States women's national team coordinator Tom Forster said that the move was underscored. The value of landing the move successfully, they said, should have been much higher.
"They don't want the field to be too far apart," Biles noted of the low score. "And that's just something that's on them. That's not on me."
Critics say that the move was intentionally underscored because judges didn't want gymnasts to attempt it and risk hurting themselves. Like Biles, others still suggested that the judges just didn't want the American to have a runaway win. Again.
"They had an open-ended code of points and now they're mad that people are too far ahead and excelling," Biles added. "I feel like now we just have to get what we get because there's no point in putting up a fight because they're not going to reward it. So we just have to take it and be quiet."
Twitter erupted after the story was published, with users saying that Biles was being discouraged from being the best (something she addressed with her rhinestone-embellished leotard, which had a goat design on it). Others called out the scoring system as holding back the sport as a whole. If athletes like Biles didn't push the boundaries of gymnastics, there'd be nowhere for it to go.
Commenters compared Biles's situation to similar instances with Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, Surya Bonaly, and Bill Russell, all Black athletes that similarly had their skills diminished by their respective sports' governing bodies. (Sounds a little racist, if you ask us.)
But don't think that means Biles is going to let the scoring deter her from continuously proving she's the best in the world: When asked why she'd keep doing the Yurchenko double pike, she answered simply: "Because I can."