Simone Biles breaks record with Yurchenko double pike vault at first world championships after two years away over mental health | US News
US gymnast Simone Biles became the first woman to land a Yurchenko double pike vault when she competed internationally for the first time in two years on Sunday.
Biles, 26, secured first place at the all-around qualifying for the World Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp after landing the vault.
She scored 15.266 for landing the position and 58.865 overall.
Yurchenko vaults involve landing on the horse or vaulting platform facing forwards and the double pike is regarded as the most difficult of the manoeuvres.
It was Biles’ first appearance at a major event since she stepped away from the sport having pulled out of the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021.
She said at the time: “I have to focus on my mental health.
“I just think mental health is more prevalent in sports right now… we have to protect our minds and our bodies and not just go out and do what the world wants us to do.
“I don’t trust myself as much anymore… maybe it’s getting older. There were a couple of days when everybody tweets you and you feel the weight of the world.
“We are not just athletes, we’re people at the end of the day and sometimes you just have to step back.”
Biles will attempt to win her sixth world all-round title at the Championships on Friday.
She returned to the sport in August, gaining a spot on the podium at the US Championships in Chicago.
Late last month she stepped in when a young black female gymnast was passed over for a medal at a ceremony in Ireland.
After the clip of the ceremony went viral, Biles said the incident “broke her heart” and Gymnastics Ireland apologised.
The 26-year-old said she had reached out to the young girl and tweeted that there is “no room for racism in any sport or at all”.
Gymnastics Ireland said in its statement: “What happened on the day should not have happened and for that we are deeply sorry.”