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Everything is impossible until it's not: May edition

We love disruptive moments, whatever form they take. This month, we look at one of the most disruptive moments — and greatest physical feats — in gymnastics history. Here's to Simone Biles.


Everything is impossible — until it isn’t. At Strike, we’re looking back on disruptive moments that changed the world. From technology that has shaped our lives to feats of human strength and resilience that were never thought possible, every month we’ll bring you a moment in history that changed everything.

We love disruptive moments, whether in tech and property or anywhere they might be —  as long as they awe, inspire, and set the bar just that little bit higher. So this month we take an (oh, so graceful) leap into the incredible — and, at times, downright superhuman — world of gymnastics. And when we think of moments that have shaken the world of gymnastics one name comes to mind: the powerhouse that is the American gymnast, Simone Biles. 

We look back to one May in 2021, when a 24-year-old Biles achieved the impossible and performed a record-breaking double, yes double, Yurchenko pike during a competition. This notoriously complicated vault set the world, and Twitter, alight. In one nail-biting moment the course of gymnastic history was changed, forever.

“Because I can”

The Yurchenko double pike is considered one of gymnastics most dangerous moves, so dangerous, in fact, that no female gymnast had ever dared attempted it in a competition. Before Biles, that is.

The Yurchenko double pike, to us non-gymnasts, is a move of mind-bending complexity. Named after Russian gymnast Natalia Yurchenko, the double pike comprises of a round-off onto a springboard, followed by a back handspring onto a vault and then, to finish off, a double pike-flip. So, when we said mind-bending, we really meant it. 

When Biles stepped out onto the mat at the US Classic competition in May 2021, there was a lot of buzz surrounding what she was about to perform. But not only did Biles complete the move with incredible precision, but she also added in an extra flip — because she’s just that brilliant. And fearless. And game-changing.

This made Biles the first female gymnast to complete the Yurchenko double pike in a competition, solidifying Biles’s name in history. 

Despite this, the judges were less enthusiastic. Biles gained a provisional scoring value of only 6.6, a score which Biles had already achieved multiple times for other, much less intricate, vault moves. The main reason behind the low score was down to the move’s high risk value, some experts have even claimed that the federation were attempting to discourage other gymnasts from attempting the dangerous move.

A low score hasn’t deterred Biles from performing the move again, however. When asked why she would want to continue with a vault that wouldn’t be rewarded on the scoring board, she simply said: “Because I can”

Simone Biles, raising the bar once again (and double piking over it, of course)."

Tokyo Olympics 2021

By the time Biles broke the world record she was already a superstar, and she’s gone from strength to strength. The star already has 32 Olympic and world medals under her belt, and she is tied for the Olympic record for most medals won by an American gymnast — cementing her career in history.

Yet despite her success at the US Classic competition, Biles took the decision a few months later to step out of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, citing the need to focus on her mental health.

As she told NBC, “Physically, I feel good. I'm in shape…Emotionally, it varies on the time and moment. Coming to the Olympics and being head star isn't an easy feat.”

While the decision to step away from the 2021 Olympics drew criticism from some, it was widely praised by many fans and mental health advocates who have applauded Biles’s strength and self-awareness in knowing when to take time for herself. 

While it is still unknown whether or not Biles will make a return to the 2024 Olympics, one thing is certain: her talent and resilience is an inspiration to us all and her illustrious career will go down in history. Simone Biles, raising the bar once again (and double piking over it, of course). 

We're always looking to dream bigger and find ways to make the impossible possible. Next month, we'll be back with another moment that changed everything.