Simone Biles Continues To Dominate Her Competition — Why She's Being Penalized And Chastised For It

Photo: Emilee Chinn/Getty Images
Simone Biles on the vault

American artistic gymnast, Olympic athlete, and world champion Simone Biles is in the news following her record breaking feat of being the first woman ever to land the Yurchenko double pike vault in  competition — an achievement that has historically only been done by men.

Simone Biles is the most decorated American gymnast, and the third most decorated gymnast in the world. She has the most World medals out of any gymnast with 25, most World gold medals with 19, and is the female gymnast with the most World all-around titles at 5.

When we argue about who is the greatest and most dominant athlete of all time, Simone Biles’s name should always come up.

At 24 years old, Biles is in her prime. She proved it by performing the Yurchenko double pike vault at the GK U.S. Classic gymnastic competition on Saturday — winning her fifth GK U.S. Classic title and securing a gold medal with a score of 16.100.

The score, however, was too low for some people’s liking. With an execution score of 9.500 and a provisional score of 6.6, Simone Biles and United States women’s national team coordinator Tom Forster think the score is unfair.

“They’re both too low and they even know it,” Biles said of the rewards for her beam dismount and the double-pike vault. “But they don’t want the field to be too far apart. And that’s just something that’s on them. That’s not on me.”

Forster agrees, saying that “It doesn’t seem to be consistent with what they’ve done with other vault values,” he said, “and I don’t know why they do that.”

Back in 2019, Biles unveiled a double beam dismount and believes that judges rated that performance similarly to her move on Saturday, leading people to believe that the FIG (International Gymnastics Federation) is purposely trying to limit Simone Biles’s score to quietly intimidate other gymnasts into not attempting the same complex routines. 

Following the 2004 Olympics, FIG even ditched the 10.0 scoring with the reasoning that they wanted to encourage athletes to push the physical bounds of the sport, so it makes no sense that they would lower Biles’s score to discourage competition. 

Is Simone Biles too good, for her own good?

As one of the most decorated, talented, and innovative gymnasts in the world, Biles often cleans up regardless of whether or not she’s unveiling daring new moves.

As such, she’s targeted by the institutions for being too good and too dominant, lighting social media ablaze and sparking arguments about the double standards that exist in the comparison of men’s and women’s sports as well as delving into the topic of her race.

RELATED: Gymnast Nia Dennis Shows The World That Black Women Can Be Unapologetically Black In Predominantly White Spaces

The argument that a move is deemed too “unsafe” to be encouraged or given a high score is preposterous to most. Twitter user Natalie Fertig (@natsfert) says, “This disincentivizes female athletes from taking their game to the next level.”

The provisional score is based on the idea that the move was physically impossible for women to perform or was too dangerous, so by performing it, they give it a low score. Some people agree with this.

Twitter user Berlin Babe (@AvivaBrueckner) says, “It’s a sport, an entertainment, and shouldn’t cost lives.”

Some people are looking at men's sports and comparing Michael Phelps’s domination in swimming to what Biles is doing now.

Jeanna Kadlec (@jeannakadlec) tweets, “so when michael phelps blows through every preconceived notion of what a swimmer can do, it's exciting for the sport, but when simone biles does it for gymnasts, it's threatening? guess we don't have to think too hard about why.”

All the drama doesn’t seem to affect Biles though. When asked about why she does the moves despite knowing she won’t get the appropriate score, she responded, “because I can.”

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Yesterday she tweeted, “I’m sorry but I can’t believe I competed a double pike on vault.” With responses all in support of her brilliance and boldness, it seems like she’s making waves and setting new boundaries in the gymnastics world.

She even got recognition from another “greatest athlete of all time” contender, LeBron James, for her move. He tweeted, “MY GOODNESS @Simone_Biles!!”

With the Tokyo Olympics coming up in July, this is a great way to put some changes in motion and get her name buzzing, as well as building some hype for the competition that Biles is sure to dominate (again).

RELATED: Simone Biles Is Competing At The Tokyo Olympics For One Emotional Reason

Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice and relationships.