Simone Biles makes history at world gymnastics championship after completing challenging vault

Simone Biles made history during her return to international gymnastic competition as she completed one of the most challenging vaults in the sport on Sunday. 

The four-time Olympic gold medalist became the first woman to land a Yurchenko double pike vault internationally at the World Artistic Gymnastic Championships in Belgium. Video shows the 26-year-old sprinting down the runway before making a round-off onto a springboard, then doing a back handspring onto the vaulting table and finishing off with two double flips. As she landed on her feet, the crowd responded with loud applause. 

Considered the most challenging vault in women’s gymnastics, it has an assigned difficulty score of 6.4 – that’s more than any other type of vault, Reuters reported. It will also be renamed Biles II because it was completed in international competition, adding to a total of five skills in her name, according to Team USA. Biles previously did this vault in the U.S. in 2018, and only male gymnasts have previously done it in international competition. 

And there’s a reason it hasn’t been done before. Her coach, Laurent Landi, said on “60 Minutes” in 2021 that’s a “very, very challenging” move. 

“What’s scary [is], people can get hurt,”  Landi said. “You do a short landing, it can hurt your ankles. It’s very dangerous vault.” 

“She’s opened her eyes to everybody that this can be done when I think a lot of the people believed that a female could not do it,” Landi’s wife, Cécile, told 60 Minutes.

The vault adds to her list of recent — and career — accomplishments. Her world championships appearance was her sixth time participating, which is an unprecedented feat, according to USA Gymnastics. It also comes more than a month after Biles won a record eighth U.S. Gymnastics title. While Biles is in the middle of a comeback bid following a nearly two-year break from the sport, she hasn’t said whether she will compete in the Paris Olympics next year. 

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