Because she could

Simone Biles takes a jump into the unknown, lands in a league of her own

The onrushing moments were off the charts already for the NBC Artistic Gymnastics commentators at the US Classic, when Simone Biles set off from her starting mark last weekend. In sticking to her Yurchenko double pike vault landing, the 24-year-old American became the only woman to take the gravity-mocking gig to its completion in a competition. Biles has four eponymous gymnastics routines in her name already, and takes delight in saying “I’m doing a Biles”.

The Yurchenko double pike that very few men have attempted was executed to perfection, as Biles staked claim to the sporting stratosphere that comprises the swimming legend, Michael Phelps, and the most decorated quarter-back, Tom Brady. Some would even say that Biles was a level higher. That the 4-feet-9 gymnast reaches those lofty heights by generating her own acceleration through air points to her formidable talent honed by countless repetitions and the humility in accepting that what she’s doing is enormously difficult. “The Biles” on her floor exercise routine with two-and-half twists, the last half of which makes you rub your eyes even the tenth time you watch it, puts her in a one-woman league of her own.

This historic routine was easily the greatest step — and cartwheel and inverted takeoff and twin tumbles — taken by a woman in sport. Not only is there a risk attached to her routine, but it takes leaps of belief to launch the body into orbit, knowing it’s a jump into the unknown. The sophistication of her technique and the finesse of her landings means Biles can attempt most elements that the men can, and go further. But fundamentally, it is heartening to know that a woman chose to fly off the vault, because she could.

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