I love gymnastics, particularly during the Olympics. But, other than the couple years I spent doing the most basic moves as a kid, I know virtually nothing about all of the sweat, blood, and tears that go into the sport. I generally just like to watch and marvel at the gymnasts in awe as the commentators explain how no human should be able to propel their bodies through the air while twisting like elastic, yet alas, they somehow can. But that lack of knowledge typically brings up a lot of questions. Like, for instance, what makes Kenzo Shirai's floor routine so hard? Because as impressive as it is, the gravity defying by this Olympic gymnast simply makes no sense.
Due to the fact that I am endlessly curious, and I know that you're probably awe-inspired by Shirai, too, I decided to do some digging on the matter. Why is his routine so revered? Well, as one of the commentators remarked about the gymnast's floor program at Finals, it has "One of the highest start values, not only on floor, but of any event." It's Shirai's difficulty level that really sets him apart, a fact that the Finals commentators also noted is a big deal for his competitors, but also for Japan, being that the country tends to display more "low level routines."
So what exactly makes the Olympian's floor routine so difficult? Well, as The Guardian puts it, it's Shirai's "ability to twist through the air like a helicopter rotor." More specifically though, it's the fact that he can do things that other superhuman-like gymnasts can't do or didn'teven dream of until he did it.
According to the AP, via Yahoo, Shirai has four moves named after him: a quadruple twisting back somersault, a triple twisting front somersault, a triple twisting double layout, and a Yurchenko vault with three twists. Not too shabby.
The challenge of his routine can be attributed to, as Yahoo puts it, the gymnast's "superior twisting skills." Or, really, if you want to get a better feel for just how hard it is to do his floor routine, listen to the awe in the commentators' voices as they critique Shirai's Olympic floor performance and explain his moves. It's honestly hard not to see where the difficulty in it is after that.