Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 19 August 2019

Simone Biles and the triple-double: what it means and why it is so important for gymnastics

The 22-year-old admitted to feeling weary prior to competition by an organisation she said had 'failed' her

Simone Biles performs her floor routine during the 2019 US Gymnastics Championships at Sprint Center. Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Simone Biles performs her floor routine during the 2019 US Gymnastics Championships at Sprint Center. Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

American gymnast Simone Biles has made history by becoming the first female gymnast to land a triple-double in competition. She did so during her floor routine at the US women’s gymnastics championship on August 11.

What is a triple-double in gymnastics?

The move is called the triple-double because of how many times she spins and rotates while in the air.

Using immense force to get enough height, Biles completes three full twists and two flips before landing.

The triple-double can been seen in her first tumbling pass in her routine. She starts with a round off into a back handspring into the first somersault with one twist and then a second somersault with two twist.

As The New York Times report, the triple-double is so hard that only two men have accomplished it in competition.

For comparison, here's a look at the Japanese gymnast Kenzo Shirai performing the same move. While also impressive, there are subtle differences in how he completes the move versus Biles.

Why is it important?

Biles is the first female gymnast to ever complete (and stick the landing) to such a difficult move. If she can land them at the World Championships in Germany in October, the move will be named after her.

But on another level, she’s bringing attention back to a sport that hasn’t had a lot of good coverage in the last couple of years.

A few days prior to the competition, she told reports that it was difficult to represent an organisation “having had them fail us so many times,” and spoke out about the Larry Nassar scandal that rocked USA Gymnastics.

“It’s not easy coming back to the sport, coming back to the organisation that has failed you,” the four-time Olympic gold medallist told reporters.

“It’s not easy being out here. I feel every day is a reminder of what I went through and what I’ve been through and what I’m going through and how I’ve come out of it. I try just not to think about it.”

What’s next for Simone Biles?

She won the competition by a full two points and definitely has her sights set for gold again at Tokyo 2020. After winning five Olympic medals at the 2016 Rio Games (four of which were gold for the Team, All-Around, Vault and Floor Exercise) and taking a hiatus in 2017, it seems the 22-year-old has is more than ready.

Considered one of the greatest gymnasts of all-time, at this point, it seems the biggest competition is herself.

She does not have a lot left to proof but for every competition she enters, she is helping elvate the standard of women's gymnastics.

Updated: August 13, 2019 03:44 PM

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