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The Controversy Surrounding The Undervaluation of Simone Biles' Signature Elements Perfectly Explained

Tumblr gymnastics blogger, who goes by the name of  viktoriakomova , explained perfectly and in details the controversy surrounding the unde...

Tumblr gymnastics blogger, who goes by the name of viktoriakomova, explained perfectly and in details the controversy surrounding the undervaluation of US Simone Biles' signature elements:

So the Simone “mainstream narrative” thing.

Things that DID happen, in reality, on this timeline and in this universe:

  • Simone Biles was the first gymnast ever to do a double twisting double back flip beam dismount in 2019. she submitted it as a new skill so it could be given a value for judging. the international gymnastics federation (aka FIG) rated it an H (an A is worth 0.1, B 0.2, C 0.3, and so on. so an H is worth 0.8 points). many people think that was too low and it should have been an I (0.9 points). the skill simone originated is the only H-rated element on the balance beam, and she is the only person to have done it in competition.

  • The FIG justified their decision saying that they didn’t want to rate it an I because that would incentivize gymnasts attempting it in competition before they can actually do it, just because it’s worth so much. for perspective, a fall is -1.0. Usually when gymnasts fall, there are multiple deductions taken because of how the fall happened. But hypothetically, if a gymnast did the dismount and fell on her face, without incurring any other deductions, she would only lose 0.1 points. that gamble is mathematically worth it if a gymnast can do it maybe 50% of the time, since if she DOESN’T fall, she’ll get a big score boost.

  • (FWIW I don’t think it was for safety, I think they just didn’t want to jump from G elements being the hardest and skip over H to give the new element an I rating lmao) 

  • In May 2021, simone debuted a CRAZY hard vault, unprecedented in women’s gymnastics. it was assigned a difficulty value of 6.6. for perspective, the Amanar, which was the gold standard for vault difficulty in gymnastics in 2012 and 2016, is worth 5.8 points. so its a big fuckin deal. but some people argue that it should be a 6.8. 

  • There’s no real reasoning for why they gave it a 6.6, other than looking at the progressive increase in vault difficulty for increasingly harder vaults and then just giving it a value that’s however many tenths higher than the value of the hardest vault in the code of points already. but regardless, people insisted that it was unfair to Simone individually, specifically, personally.
Things that definitely did NOT happen:

  • A skill Simone does getting banned

  • A skill Simone does getting undervalued because it is “unfair to her competitors” how far ahead of the rest of the field her scores would be

  • A skill being undervalued to “punish her for greatness”

  • Simone getting a zero from doing a skill that is banned (this one is just..??!)

  • Simone getting a zero for doing a skill that is banned for being too hard and sticking it (even more ??! than the last one) (she didn’t stick a single vault at olympic trials iirc)

The “punished for being too good” narrative likely comes from 3 years of US sports media progressively building up this (damn near ficticious) story line about how it’s a grave injustice to humanity that simone’s skill is rated a whole entire tenth too low because the FIG doesn’t want anybody to try what she can do. she will now win gold on beam by a paltry 0.7 margin instead of 0.8 points!

I think twitter m**** who don't understand anything (but know that a perceived injustice against a black athlete perpetuated by The Man is going to get a lot of attention) have warped it over time from “its underrated because the FIG is concerned someone else will hurt themselves trying it” to “the FIG is undervaluing it because nobody but Simone can do it” to “the FIG is undervaluing it because Simone is so far ahead of everyone else” to “the FIG is punishing Simone for being too dominant and too successful” to “the FIG is punishing Simone for being so dominant and successful by banning her death-defyingly difficult skill.” a perfect recipe for righteous outrage and a flurry of retweets, but completely removed from any version of reality.

I dont have a problem with people who don’t know about gymnastics, i DO have a problem with people watching like 4 clips on the internet, deciding they know what they’re talking about, and getting up on a soapbox to preach against this injustice with a totally unfounded degree of confidence

The Tumblr blogger's post received positive reactions from gymnastics fans. It was relogged 32 times and liked 41 times.

Photo via Simone Biles/Instagram


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