Finally: The Yurchenko double pike will forevermore be named after Simone Biles

By Patricia Duffy | October 1, 2023
Simone Biles before, during, and after competing the Yurchenko double pike at the 2023 Core Hydration Classic.
© Amy Sanderson

ANTWERP, Belgium – Simone Biles successfully competed the Yurchenko double pike at the 2023 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships on Sunday – more than two years after competing the exceptionally difficult skill for the first time at the 2021 U.S. Classic.

Biles mesmerized the crowd with the vault during Subdivision 2 of women’s qualifying, scoring a 15.266 (6.4 D-score, 9.366 E-score, -0.5 ND) in the final rotation to finish with a 58.865 in the all-around and help the U.S. women’s team score a 171.395 – both expected to be the top scores of qualifying when all ten subdivisions conclude on Monday night local time.

The 26-year-old incurred a -0.5 neutral deduction for having her coach, Laurent Landi, on the podium as a precautionary measure.

The vault will forevermore be named the “Biles II” in the International Gymnastics Federation’s Code of Points since Biles is the first woman to land the skill at a FIG-sanctioned event.

The Biles II is a roundoff back handspring with two saltos in the piked position.

The Biles I is a roundoff, half twist on, front double full off and was named for Biles after she successfully competed it at the 2018 world championships in Doha, Qatar.

The Biles II is valued at a 6.4 – the hardest vault in the women’s Code of Points.

This value comes after the FIG Women’s Technical Committee originally provisionally valued the vault at a 6.6 in 2021, which Biles took issue with.

“[6.8 is the] correct value, but that’s okay,” Biles said after the 2021 Classic. “No point in putting up a fight because they’re not going to reward it… They [chose] an open-ended Code of Points, and now they’re mad that people are excelling.”

Biles executed the YDP multiple times in 2021 but didn’t get it named at the Tokyo Olympic Games after only competing it in podium training before withdrawing from multiple finals, including the vault final – where she was expected to do it – due to the twisties.

The Yurchenko double pike is a 5.6 in the men’s Code of Points – a difficult vault value – and his currently competed by a couple men, including USA’s Paul Juda.

All vaults underwent a 0.4 devaluation from the 2017-2021 code to the 2022-2024 code. As a result, many expected the vault to be provisionally valued at a 6.2 this time around.

In August, Biles once again competed the YDP at the Classic in her first competition back since Tokyo, and USA Gymnastics gave her a 6.4 despite reportedly having valued it at a 6.2 the month prior at a U.S. women’s national team camp. At the U.S. championships later that month, Landi confirmed USAG had yet to request a provisional valuation. At the U.S. women’s world team selection camp last week, U.S. women’s technical lead Chellsie Memmel confirmed that a request for valuation had been submitted, and the FIG had come back with a 6.4, confirming USAG’s valuation.

Biles was surprised but pleased, and now she’s made history once again.

The Biles II rendering for the Code of Points. (Credit: FIG)