“No comparison.” That was all that Jonathan Owens had to say after witnessing Simone Biles make history — again. During the U.S. Classic, Simone, 24, became the first female gymnast to land a Yurchenko double pike vault in competition on Saturday (May 22), a feat that left jaws on the floor and certified Simone as one of if not the greatest athletes of all time. For Jonathan, 25, all he could do was write those two words to his Instagram Story. The Houston Texans safety said that there was “no comparison” to his girlfriend, per Page Six, and that no one on this earth comes close to what she can do.
The Yurchenko double pike is named after former Russian gymnast Natalia Yurchenko, who pioneered the “roundoff-back-handspring approach to the vault,” according to The New York Times. However, the “Yurchenko” is just part of the vault; after launching themself off the vault, the gymnast needs to propel themself high enough to allow them to flip twice before coming down into a pike position – body folded, legs straight. Not even Natalia Yurchenko attempted a Yurchenko double pike vault, and until Saturday, only male competitors were able to land the move in competition.
When Simone – who had a literal goat bedazzled on her leotard to prove she is the Greatest Of All Time — performed it, she did so well that she actually over-rotated. She needed to take a few steps on her landing to stop her momentum. The judges at the U.S. Classic “were not so impressed,” per the NYT. They scored this move – which is considered highly difficult – a difficulty scoring of 6.6, a provincial difficulty rating similar to what other Simone’s vaults have received. This score seemingly downplayed her achievement, which left her feeling frustrated.
“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,” said Simone of the judges and, ultimately, the International Gymnastics Federation. “So we just have to take it and be quiet.”
There was similar frustration over her double-twisting, double-back beam dismount. “They’re both too low, and they even know it,” she told the NYT about her double-pike vault and beam dismount. “But they don’t want the field to be too far apart. And that’s just something that’s on them. That’s not on me.” Despite facing a scoring system that will undervalue her achievements, Simone said she would continue to make these high-risk moves. When asked why, she quickly responded: “Because I can.”