Simone Biles Unveils New Vault No Woman Has Ever Done Before, Remains Invincible

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Yesterday, USA Gymnastics hosted its selection camp to help choose the five-person team for the upcoming world championships in Doha. I say “help choose” because the results from this competition—or any competition for that matter—aren’t truly determinative of who will be named or not. Final team composition will be decided behind closed doors by the selection committee and announced today.

If you can’t trust the results to tell you who’s on the team, at least you can always rely on Simone Biles to deliver some mind-boggling gymnastics. That Biles will be competing in Doha was a foregone conclusion even before the camp started. She simply used yesterday’s verification camp to, among other things, do a vault that no woman had ever done in competition before because, as the gymternet is wont to tweet, #SimoneThings.

Before this camp, Biles was competing a vault with the same entry—a roundoff onto the board and half turn onto the table—but with only one and a half twists off. This vault is called the Cheng, named for Cheng Fei of China who first performed it in 2005. The vault that Biles performed yesterday featured an extra half twist (for a total of two) so that Biles landed facing away from the vault table.


This new vault means that in the less than 12 months that Biles has been back in the gym full-time—she resumed training in November of last year—she has upgraded her program from Rio on all four events. It also basically assures her the gold medal on vault in Doha. (But that was also the case before the upgrade.)


Before yesterday’s verification competition, this vault had only been performed by men. If Biles does it at the world championships, it will be named “the Biles.” She already has a skill named after her in the Code; the double layout-half on floor exercise is called “the Biles.”

Here it is in slow motion, because why not:


Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that the new vault would be called the “Biles II.”