Simone Biles made history on her return to the world stage as she became the first woman to land a Yurchenko double pike vault.
The American 26-year-old hasn’t competed internationally since the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 after taking time out to focus on her mental health.
But she returned with a bang at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp as she finished as the leader in the women’s all‑around with a score of 58.865 on the first day of the two-day qualifying round.
The 19-time world champion scored 15.266 for successfully pulling off the Yurchenko double pike – rated as the most difficult jump in vault with a technical rating of 6.4 points.
It has now been renamed as the Biles II – making it her fifth named skill.
Biles, who has also won four Olympic gold medals and is the first American woman to compete at six world gymnastics championships, now has two elements named after her in vault.
Along with two skills named after her in the vault, she has two on the floor exercise and one on the balance beam.
Having wowed on the opening day of the event, Biles now leads on three pieces of apparatus – floor, vault and balance beam – while she is second to teammate Shilese Jones on the uneven bars.
It marks an incredible return to international competition for Biles, who pulled out of five of her six finals at the Tokyo Olympics after suffering from the ‘twisties’ – a mental block which causes gymnasts to lose their sense of space in the air.
Ahead of the World Championships in Belgium, Biles revealed that she went through another ‘twisties’ episode, which led her to contemplate calling time on her career.
She told Olympics.com: “I didn’t know if I was ever going to be able to compete again.
“Because there were multiple times this year where I was in the gym and I was like, ‘I’m actually terrified of this full-in, like I’m not doing it again, never going to do it’.
“And then I was like, ‘You know what? I’m just going to come back another day, another day’.
“The girls on the team really helped me with that because they were like, ‘No, Simone, just come in. Come on’.
“And I’m like, ‘OK, you’re right. I can’t give up now because then I’ll forever be afraid of it’.”
With 32 world and Olympic medals, Biles needs just two more to become the most decorated gymnast in history.