Simone Biles warms up before competing in the U.S. Classic gymnastics competition in Indianapolis, Saturday, May 22, 2021. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
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Simone Biles becomes first woman to land Yurchenko double pike in return to competition

 The GOAT is back.

Competing for the first time in 587 days at the U.S. Classic on Saturday night, Simone Biles marked the occasion by wearing a leotard with a goat on the back. A goat head to be exact, outlined in rhinestones.

It’s the second time Biles has worn a goat leo. She also wore it for podium training at the national championships in 2019.

“There should be times where we can celebrate whenever we do a good routine. Or if you’ve been on a winning streak for a year. Or so forth,” Biles said then. “I think it’s something you should have pride in. Not be cocky about it, but have pride in it.”

GOAT stands for Greatest of All Time and if any athlete is deserving of the title, it’s Biles. She won four gold medals at the Rio Olympics, including the all-around title. Her five all-around titles at the world championships are the most by any woman, and she also is the most decorated gymnast, male or female, at worlds with 25 medals.

Simone Biles wears a rhinestone goat on her leotard during the 2021 GK U.S. Classic gymnastics competition.

Biles’ 19 gold medals at worlds is also a record for any gymnast.

She also has four skills named after her, in recognition of being the first gymnast to compete the move, and it will soon be five after she did a Yurchenko double pike vault Saturday night.

What exactly is Yurchenko Double Pike?

Traditionally performed only by men, the Yurchenko Double Pike is one of the tougher moves to land in artistic gymnastics.

To get a better understanding of the Yurchenko Double Pike, let us break it into parts:


Yurchenko is the name of a vault family as well as a specific vault used in Artistic Gymnastics. The vault is named after former Soviet Union gymnast Natalia Yurchenko who attempted it for the first time.

In a basic Yurchenko Vault, the gymnast does a round-off on to the springboard and a back handspring on to the vaulting table. He or she then performs one or more summersaults depending on how much difficulty level they want to attempt.


Pike is a type of structure a gymnast’s body is in while he or she performs a flip.

A gymnast’s body form is basically categorised into four forms when he or she perform’s a flip – Aerial, Layout, Tuck and Pike.

At its core, while indulging in a pike, a gymnast usually has bent hips, straight knees and with the legs attached together.

A double pike is when the gymnast completes two flips or somersaults with his or her body in a pike form.

Yurchenko Double Pike

In essence, the Yurchenko Double Pike is when a gymnast does a round-off on to the springboard and back handspring on the Yurchenko vault and then performs two flips with the body in the form of a pike.

By Nancy Armour

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