Simone Biles reasserted her position as the world's number one gymnast following a winning performance at the Simone Biles US Gymnastics Championship in Kansas City, on Sunday.
Notably, Biles became the first woman after Clara Schroth Lomady, to capture six US senior women's all-around gymnastics titles. Lomady had last won in in 1952. Biles marked the occasion by attempting to and succeeding in landing a triple-twisting, double back maneuver during her routine.
Following Biles' spectacular display, English PhD candidate at Rutgers, Suzanne F Boswell took it upon herself to explain how Biles successfully performed the triple-double.
Last night, Simone Biles successfully performed a triple double, and the entire world is (correctly) freaking out. For those interested in the background, here is a short thread explaining *why* the triple double is so difficult. pic.twitter.com/R4UC2jAlnm— Suzanne F. Boswell (@sf_boswell) August 12, 2019
Suzanne took to Twitter to explain the move through multiple posts, starting off with explaining what a triple-double actually is. For the unversed, it is "a double back flip with three twists."
First, the basics: a triple double = a double back flip with three twists. Wow! That sounds super-hard. But if you don't know gymnastics, what does any of that really mean? Let's break it down further... pic.twitter.com/Kzivn8EbA6— Suzanne F. Boswell (@sf_boswell) August 12, 2019
She went on to explain what a single back flip is before discussing further.
Here is Gabby Douglas performing a single back flip - one flip in the air, in the tucked position. The back flip is a fairly easy skill on floor for elite gymnasts. It's worth an A, or .1 points in difficulty. pic.twitter.com/xWPDsycCBF— Suzanne F. Boswell (@sf_boswell) August 12, 2019
Going to the history and evolution of the move, Suzanne wrote that following the single backflip, the double back became popular in women's gymnastics sometime around 1976.
Sometime around the 1976 olympics, women's gymnasts started doing the double back (two flips in the air, in a tucked position). Here it is, performed by Sarah Finnegan. It's worth a D in elite gymnastics, or .4 points in difficulty. pic.twitter.com/WdPxZdSUxS— Suzanne F. Boswell (@sf_boswell) August 12, 2019
In a series of tweets, Suzanne then when on to speak about how Elena Mukhina brought the "full-twisting double tuck" to the fore in 1978 and how others have performed it accordingly.
In 1978, Elena Mukhina brought out the full-twisting double tuck - a double tuck with a full twist. Here's Biles' version of the Mukhina: she does a full twist on the first flip, and then a "regular" back flip at the end. pic.twitter.com/RQc7lYx2uY— Suzanne F. Boswell (@sf_boswell) August 12, 2019
Here's another view at the full-twisting double back, this time from Larisa Iordache. Again, Iordache twists during the first flip, then does a regular back flip at the end. This skill is worth an E, or .5 points in difficulty. pic.twitter.com/jkMzzejkE6— Suzanne F. Boswell (@sf_boswell) August 12, 2019
In the late 1980s, Suzanne explained that gymnasts brought forward the double-double, which was named after Daniela Silibas in 1988.
In the late 1980s, gymnasts were like "but what if we did a double DOUBLE." because it was the eighties, and people were wild. The double double means two back flips, and a twist on each back flip (two twists). Here's Biles performing the double double. pic.twitter.com/TLnCgsilrL— Suzanne F. Boswell (@sf_boswell) August 12, 2019
The double double was named after Daniela Silivas in 1988. Here's another look at it, from Morgan Hurd (2017 All Around World Champion and personal hero). Watch how she twists on both back flips: The Silivas is worth an H, or .8 points in difficulty. pic.twitter.com/LMx3PHdOwA— Suzanne F. Boswell (@sf_boswell) August 12, 2019
Finally, Suzanne elaborated that the triple-double, accomplished by Biles is three twists and two backflips.
The TRIPLE double means three twists, two back flips. Which means Biles is doing more twists than she has back flips to do them on. Now, I could be wrong, but I think Biles accomplishes this by doing two twists on the first flip and "just" one on the end. pic.twitter.com/MZJ1MtIQiT— Suzanne F. Boswell (@sf_boswell) August 12, 2019
According to Suzanne, the triple-double has been assigned the highest difficulty value assigned to a skill, adding that if Biles successfully performs the triple-double at World Championships, it will be the third or fourth skill named after her in the Code of Points after the Biles on floor and the Biles on vault.