“Goosebumps”: World Champion Gymnast Amazed by Simone Biles’ Namesake Yurchenko Double Pike (Exclusive)

Published 11/03/2023, 3:22 PM EDT

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Leanne Wong, the gymnastic starlet, and Simone Biles teammate, witnessed the tables turn at the 2023 World Gymnastics Championships this time. Looking at her history, the 20-year-old was kept as an alternate at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Even at the 2023 Worlds, she was the vault alternate of Joscelyn Roberson. Until an unfortunate fall of the 17-year-old placed Wong on the 9-vaulters list.

Though she studied each athlete while warming up, stepping on the gymnastic mat was a big deal. While shedding light on this, she talked of having to do a 10s mindset switch before her routine. On the other hand, while watching the gymnastic GOAT perform her signature Yurchenko Double Pike, Wong felt an adrenaline rush. Since both Biles’ and Wong’s vault is the star of the show, the 20-year-old voiced her inner YDP thoughts in an exclusive interview with EssentiallySports.

Simone Biles’ YDP prowess


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In the interview with EssentiallySports, the question read, “While we are on the subject of vault, have you or others on the team ever tried your hand at Yurchenko double pike (now Biles II) in training? Would you ever like to attempt Biles II in competition?” Without much delay, the 20-year-old expressed her admiration for the tough routine and the performer who aced it.

She said, “Watching Simone Biles name her fifth skill and second vault the Biles II it definitely gave me goosebumps. It’s such an amazing accomplishment to successfully land a skill and have it named after you and Simone has five of them. The Biles II is a tremendously difficult skill to perform and Simone makes it look so easy.” Though the statement didn’t clearly answer the question, it can be said that Wong may require time to go for it.

Talking of Simone Biles, even after a second finish behind rival Shilese Jones in uneven bars, the Olympian clinched the all-around gold with 58.399. After landing the perfect YDP routine, she got her 5th skill named as Biles II. Having said that, on Day 1 of apparatus, the 26-year-old failed to ace her YDP, handing over the win to Rebeca Andrade.

Though Leanne Wong boasts her humble self, it took a toll on her while stepping up as a vault participant. In another segment with EssentiallySports, the Quest Nutrition partner opened up about her woes.


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Wong’s pre-routine troubles

She started by saying, “I warmed up in the back in case something happened, but when I was getting ready to cheer on the girls on their first event.” Someone who just stepped in as the strongest hype woman swapped her fate within seconds. Roberson’s unforeseen fall took her off guard and left her troubled initially, but her teammates stood by her. To that she said, “Kayla and Skye were standing next to me and helped me pull my warmups off.”

READ MORE: Huge Setback for USA as Rising Gymnast Forced to Sit Out Multiple Pan-American Qualifiers


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Later, after continued palpitations, she stepped up with her confident self. Though her vault didn’t get a podium finish, her determination stood out. Sharing the same stage as Biles regarding ‘Twisties’ as well, Wong worked a similar motivational mantra. Never have fallen victim to mental demons. She girds up for another athletic year.

Watch this story:  Simone Left Disheartened Missing Out on an Important Event Days After Her World Championship Victory


Written by:

Agnijeeta Majumder


One take at a time

Agnijeeta Majumder is a US Sports author at EssentiallySports. Being an experienced content writer and a passionate sports enthusiast, Agnijeeta combined her love for writing and penchant for all things sports to delve into the world of the Olympic sports arena. Agnijeeta takes inspiration from American Track and Field star Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone and brings her attention to detail to all the avenues of the Athletics realm.
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Edited by:

Garima Yadav