Opinion

World Judges Penalize Simone for Being Too Good

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Simone Biles’ double-twisting, double


Published 10/05/2019 | Reading Time 1 min 21 sec 

OPINION | By Nehemiah D. Frank

The International Gymnastics Federation (IGF) is penalizing the sport’s reigning queen, Simone Biles, for competing skills other gymnasts haven’t trained and, therefore, can’t do.

I’m not going to lie; I think it’s because she’s black and happens to be the greatest gymnast that’s ever lived.

“Am I in a league of my own? Yes! But that doesn’t mean you can’t credit me for what I’m doing,” Biles told reporters at the 2019 World Artistic Gymnastics Championship in Stuttgart, Germany.

Most gymnasts around the world will tell you the difficulties in keeping up with American elite gymnasts. For the past decade, USA Gymnastics has dominated the sport as a result of their athletes’ extreme-difficulty. The Americans usually outscore their competition by multiple points. So why not penalize the entire team for having skills too high-of-value that other countries don’t?

“They keep asking us to do more difficulty and to give more artistry, give more harder skills,” she explained. “So we do, and then they don’t credit it, and I don’t think that’s fair.”

Biles brings two new skills to the world’s competition this year: a triple-twisting, double somersault on floor-exercise and a double-twisting, double somersault dismount off balance beam.

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The women’s technical committee (WTC) is taking issue with Biles’ beam dismount, issuing the following statement:

“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,” it said. “There is added risk in landing of double saltos for beam dismounts (with/without twists), including a potential landing on the neck.

I’m calling bullshit on the WTC’s petty explanation because any elite gymnastics skill can lead to an athlete potentially landing on their neck.

Biles thinks it’s bullshit also taking to Twitter.

As a former gymnast coach, I have seen athletes fall-out-of a simple handstand and land on their neck — which is why their explanation falls short.

You can’t penalize the GOAT for being that damn good.


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Nehemiah D. Frank is the founder and executive editor of The Black Wall Street Times, a community school educator, TEDx alum, blogger for EdPost, Tulsa World community advisory board member, and Tulsa Press Club board member. 

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Categories: Opinion, Sports