Here's What A Gymnastics Wolf Turns Looks Like

by Alexi McCammond

It's always exciting to watch the Olympic gymnastics events and to revel at the athletes' skills. Most of the gymnasts' flips are pretty self-explanatory, but what is the wolf turn? Simone Biles has mastered this move, but it's definitely not easy.

The wolf turn is a traditional gymnastics move that is typically only done on the balance beam. Doing anything on the four-inch balance beam would be difficult; spinning around on one foot as your other leg is extended out to the side would be nearly impossible. But that's basically what the wolf turn is, and you've likely seen Biles do it (and nail it nearly every single time) throughout the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

It's unclear where the name "wolf turn" originates from, especially since the move doesn't necessary resemble the animal in any way. But that doesn't stop nearly all of the Olympic gymnasts from throwing at least one wolf turn into their routines. And it likely helps them rack up an even higher score, since it's an incredibly difficult move to pull off, whether during the floor routine or on the four-inch balance beam. Biles has gotten pretty good at it, but even when she almost didn't pull one off during the Rio Olympics, she still managed to receive a 15.2 for her balance beam routine.

You can see the wolf turn in action in the above tweet, but here's a description of exactly what the gymnast does, according to a gymnastics terms dictionary:

The gymnast starts in a squat facing sideways on the beam. One leg is in a squat and the other is straight out to the side. Her arms are in preparation similar to that of a standard turn. To initiate the turn, the gymnast will bring the straight leg inward toward the bent leg and pivot on the bent leg until she circles 360 degrees, finishing back in the same position she started.

And that's exactly what Biles has done time and again throughout the Rio Olympics. She's known for doing a two-and-a-half wolf turn at times, which is unfathomable, especially for someone like me who likely couldn't even stand on a balance beam. Biles received an impressive score of 15.433 for her balance beam routine in the individual all-around final on Thursday, August 11, which only further proved how easy she makes this whole gymnastics thing look.