We try to keep a toe in sporting events here at The Gist, especially when reporting on the remarkable. Let’s start with an event that just happened and the undisputed queen of gymnastics: an athlete so profoundly transcendent that she keeps doing things that not only can no other gymnasts do, but that no one has ever been able to do. Because of this, she can sometimes feel a (preposterous) backlash in reaction to her skill.
On May 22, gymnastics fans everywhere breathed a sigh of relief to see the sport come back from an extended absence with the U.S. Classic. It had been 587 days since Simone Biles last competed, but her game hasn’t fallen off a single iota. She opened on the balance beam and immediately distanced herself from the pack with a 14.850. Then it was on to the floor routine, where she wowed the crowd to a remix of the Tokyo Drift theme song. Her score of 14.250 was, once again, the highest. My favorite part is hearing all the little girls in the audience squeal with delight every time she lands a tumble.
Simone Biles is a POWERHOUSE ⚡️
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) May 22, 2021
The next event, the vault, is what had people buzzing. Was Biles really going to attempt a Yurchenko double pike on the vault? Something that no woman has ever attempted before?
Not only did she attempt it, she made it look easy.
THE QUEEN HAS SPOKEN 👑
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) May 23, 2021
It was even hard for Biles herself to accept.
I’m sorry but I can’t believe I competed a double pike on vault
— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) May 25, 2021
And this thread breaks down the whole thing and WHY it’s amazing.
Last week, Simone Biles successfully performed Yurchenko double pike, and since then, it's all people can talk about
Now you might be wondering what exactly makes this vault so groundbreaking. So, if you're interested, let's take a second to explore: pic.twitter.com/1IbAcW9PVI
— Suzanne F. Boswell (@sf_boswell) May 31, 2021
I didn’t catch the final event but I heard she had a fall on the uneven bars, finished in 15th place on that event and still won the All-Around title. I mean, wow.
Simone Biles, at age 24, already the greatest women’s gymnast of all time and the most decorated American gymnast ever, with 30 Olympic and World Championship medals combined. While some people downshifted during the pandemic, it appears that Biles maxed out her work, and stayed hungry in an effort to expand her medal count in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
The second sports thing is from Tennis legend Andre Agassi. Maybe this is common knowledge, but I had never heard it before and I watch a LOT of tennis, especially back in the day when Agassi was playing. It kind of reminded me of an interview I once heard with Wayne Gretzky after he had made a no-look, game-winning assist with his back to the goal. The interviewer asked him “How did you know [your teammate] was there? You were facing the boards the whole time!” And Wayne said “I saw his reflection in the glass.”
I saw his reflection in the glass.
I remember thinking, okay. That’s just another stratosphere. It’s almost unfair to everyone else.
That’s how I feel about this revelation from Agassi when he was playing German superstar Boris Becker. I remember those matches vividly! This absolutely blew my mind. Enjoy!