Now, this is a fashion choice nobody can argue with. Simone Biles made a bold statement with her leotard at the GK U.S. Classic competition on Saturday, May 22, donning a suit with a rhinestone goat on the back to represent her status as the G.O.A.T (or greatest of all time) in gymnastics. Then she backed it up by performing the Yurchenko double pike, a vault no other woman in history has landed in competition.
On Sunday, NBC shared a picture of Biles’ customized leotard on Twitter, writing, “Good morning to everyone but especially to the rhinestone goat on @SimoneBiles’ leo.” Fans reacted to the competition look on the social media platform, with one user writing, “GOAT doesn’t even BEGIN to describe Simone Biles,” and another tweeting, “I really need my non-gymnerd friends to know that Simone Biles has an outline of a GOAT in crystals on the back of her competition leo!!!”
The five-time Olympic medalist competed for the first time in more than a year-and-a-half at the U.S. Classic, and she made it count. Biles’ Yurchenko double pike had been a highly anticipated part of the competition after the famed gymnast was spotted practicing it during a training session on Friday. Biles then landed the vault in front of the judges on Saturday and was awarded a 16.1, by far the highest score of the competition and in any of the four events.
Many high-profile athletes and celebrities took note of Biles’ history-making vault on Twitter. On Friday, NBA legend Lebron James reposted a video of the gymnast practicing the Yurchenko double pike, writing, “MY GOODNESS @SimoneBiles!!” with a string of fire emojis. Fellow Olympic gold medalist Nastia Liukin tweeted the video as well and wrote, “YOU. ARE. INSANE.... @SimoneBiles,” while writer David Dennis Jr. tweeted, “What do Simone Biles’ coaches actually do at this point? Lol do they just buy action figures and shoot them off of rubber bands and go ‘can you do that?’”
NBC asked Biles how it felt seeing the vault go viral after the competition on Saturday. “Yeah, it is everywhere,” the 2019 world champion said. “It’s pretty crazy, but it’s also nice to see all the support from all over the world.” The gymnast also described returning to the competition after such a long period off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it was “nerve-wracking” but she’s “just happy to be back out here, competing on a competition floor in an arena with the girls.”
The pandemic may have seemed a setback for some athletes, but if the Tokyo Olympics hadn’t been postponed, Biles might not have undertaken the difficult vault, according to People. The gymnast felt at the time that the risk wasn’t worth the reward. However, after working on the move in practice, she started to believe it was more feasible. “There haven’t been too many times where I was like, ‘Oh, that was really scary. Maybe we shouldn’t do that,’” she said in an interview with Texas Monthly in March. “It’s actually been like, ‘Wow, this is feasible, we can do this.’”