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‘They Devalue Skills’: Simone Biles Says She Believes There’s a Target on Her Back Because She’s Breaking Records

By now, anyone who’s paid a smidgen of attention to gymnastics should know Simone Biles is one of the greatest gymnasts of all time.

Still, Biles has run into problems time and time again with the powers that be in gymnastics not scoring her properly when she’s successfully executed difficult skills. Biles opens up about her experience with the International Gymnastics Federation, the governing body of elite gymnastics, undermining her on the scoring of her performances.

Simone Biles is interviewed after the Women’s competition of the 2021 U.S. Gymnastics Olympic Trials at America’s Center on June 27, 2021 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

In the fifth episode of “Simone vs. Herself” she said, “I’m kind of breaking boundaries. And they’re like ‘Well, wait a minute! We need to change this real quick. What can we do?’ ” She went on to explain that the judges have decided to “devalue skills,” leading her to believe there is a “target” on her back because of her success.

A perfect example of this occurred earlier this summer when Biles made history by performing the Yurchenko double pike move in her vault routine at the U.S. Classic. She became the first woman to ever perform what is described by the New York Times as a “perilous and challenging” move. The judges scored her a 6.6, which many agreed was too low of a score for such a complex trick.

A similar situation happened in 2019 when Biles introduced two new skills named after her: the “Biles II” and “Biles.” Skills are scored with the letters A-J and J is the highest score one can get. With one of her moves, she received a J, but on her double-double dismount move on the balance beam, she only received an H. This sparked controversy as the move was considered the most difficult one on the beam ever attempted.

The Women’s Technical Committee issued a statement following its decision to score Biles’ move so low. The statement read, “In assigning values to the new elements, the WTC takes into consideration many different aspects; the risk, the safety of the gymnasts, and the technical direction of the discipline. There is added risk in landing of double for beam dismounts (with/without twists), including a potential landing on the neck.”

After years of dealing with what she believes is unfair scoring, Biles, who previously has fought against the IFG, now says “It is what it is.”

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