Monday, September 27

Simone Biles’ desire to innovate is thwarted by her own island sport | Tokyo 2020 Olympics


In the last month before the Olympics, two of the world’s best gymnasts displayed similar uneven bar skills of the highest difficulty for the first time within days of each other. Both Sanne Wevers and Nina Derwael performed slightly different variants of the iconic Nabieva throw, in which the gymnasts dive over and over the high bar with their legs straight before executing a half turn in the air and then catching it from the other side. .

But the great difficulty often comes at a cost. Derwael flexed his feet and arched her hips to clear the bar, then “cheated” on her swing. Wevers’ variation It was more difficult, but his bent legs extended in all directions over the high bar. This is all a normal sight. As gymnasts push their limits with the toughest skills, legs are crossed, chests drop low on landings, spins are not completely completed, and judges mark each deduction.

Such form deductions come to mind every time Simone Biles skips her surprising double pike Yurchenko, precisely because she doesn’t produce them. Vaulting is one of the most difficult skills in women’s gymnastics history and it’s still a stressful sight, but every time Biles has performed it, her technique has been flawless. The position of your body during your entry into the vault is straight as an arrow. Their legs are very close together. The height and distance it generates are phenomenal and it lands with its chest held high.

In some ways, even its few flaws are impressive. When Biles unveiled the vault at the US Classic in May, his landings in training and The warm-up they were spectacular. But In the competition He took two big steps back. When she’s nervous, Biles tends to overrun her greatest abilities to make sure she lands them, which is remarkable. While no other gymnast can pull it off, Biles has extra energy to spare.

The creation of yet another new skill has come again with drama. After the Women’s Technical Committee of the International Gymnastics Federation (WTC) placed an illogical value on Biles’ double-double takedown on the beam in 2019, Biles was again disappointed by the 6.6 value her jump received in comparison. with the 6.8 I was expecting.

Amid waves of outrage from those who parachute into the sport every four years, the issues have also been intelligently analyzed by publications including the Balance beam situation, which suggested that the score is a little low, it should probably be higher, but it is not as clear as its beam disassembled, and also the vast historic context provided by Dvora Meyers.

Understandably, Biles is frustrated by a sport that, over the past eight years, has at times seemed to endure its success rather than embrace it. The word art, a never-ending point of discussion in sports, has often been used as a weapon against his style of gymnastics.

Many prominent figures have made little effort to hide their ambivalence towards her. Considering that former WTC President Nellie Kim has previously expressed your disapproval of “athletic” gymnastics and “the Canadians of Cirque du Soleil [who] teach gymnastics to the whole world ”, his response in 2019 when asked about Biles elevating the sport it was not a surprise: “I don’t know if it’s correct to say elevated gymnastics. But I can tell you, for sure, that you are using the current dotted code in its entirety. “

Simone Biles trains on the balance beam at the Ariake Gymnastics Center in Tokyo.
Simone Biles trains on the balance beam at the Ariake Gymnastics Center in Tokyo. Photograph: Richard Ellis / UPI / Rex / Shutterstock

What is clear is that the excellence of Biles has exposed the ineptitude of the WTC. Rather than strive to create a code of points that allows a variety of different types of gymnasts to thrive, he has tried to build it with his own preferences in mind, which almost always centers on nostalgia for gymnastics of the past. Her control over the sport also extends beyond skill to the “modesty” of gymnasts’ makeup.

The result is that the Code of Points is illogical, inconsistent, and certainly not unlimited, as has been described since routines were no longer rated out of 10 as of 2006. Certain innovative skills are undervalued, as are skills that are biomechanically more difficult. What others. One of the frustrating consequences is that routines can often be extremely similar with little room for individuality.

Examples of how the WTC has cracked down on innovation span decades. Liu Xuan’s one-armed giant was squeezed on uneven bars in 1996. Croatian gymnast Tanja Delladio, who debuted with the only “Go down” technique on the bars in 2006, caused a weird and forceful comment of the WTC in its bulletin that underlined its modus operandi: “The WTC is not prepared to promote this type of elements”. Wevers’ Nabieva ½ variation in June was the most recent example of inane code in action, as its ability is valued in the same way as the objectively less difficult release skills.

The vault is certainly not worth all of this just for its great score. Biles won both the United States Championships and Olympic Trials without risking it and his coach, Laurent Landi, expressed clear doubts about completing it for On your lawn: “People seem to forget that it is a very, very dangerous skill … Just to have glory and be [in] the Points Code is not enough. “It certainly won’t in qualifying or event finals.

However, at podium training on Thursday in Tokyo, he did show it. On the first try, Biles flew into the sky, but he turned the vault too far and opted to roll away. He came back for a second try that landed comfortably on his feet with a single step back.

The fact that she doesn’t need to do it makes it all the more worthwhile. It is a reflection of her growth from an impressionable teenager eight years ago to a woman who understands her own greatness and the power to behave accordingly. Biles has spent the last four years looking beyond her competition and instead challenging herself to her limits and it has been beautiful. “I’m trying to be better than I was in the last game so I’m trying to beat myself,” Biles recently told NBC.

That will be one of the great rivalries of this year’s Games, Simone v Simone, and this may be the last time it will be seen. It should be savored accordingly.




www.theguardian.com

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