Up in the Air: Have To, Want To and Simone Biles

Did you see what Simone Biles did? She is the first woman to land a Yurchenko Double Pike in competition. Look, I know we see people do things and the first thought is wow, I cannot do that. With Simone, you look and think, wow, no one can do that. Yet, for the second time the international gymnastic federation (FIG)  “downgraded the difficulty to prevent gymnasts from attempting the risky skill to bolster their score and to keep the competition scores closer.” FIG gave this same rationale did this back in 2019 when they didn’t award a higher difficulty level to Ms Biles.

Ironic since FIG to an open points1 system in 2006 to reward innovation and recognize excellence in the sport. Now FIG is penalizing great, discouraging top performance? Would the music industry tell Mariah Carey and Celine Dion, hey, we know you have a five octave ranges, but, we’re going to autotune you down to 2 octaves; don’t want the other singers to look, I mean sound bad attempting to sing like you do.

“I’m trying to be better than I was at the last meet. I’m trying to beat myself.”

Simone Biles to Hoda Kotb in a recent interview

Back to Simone Biles. She pushes the limits, not because she has to win, but, because she wants to. People who volunteer? It’s because they want to, not because they have to. Play an instrument for fun? It’s because you want to, not because you have to. OK, you get the idea. So, this week, think about the things you do because you want to that bring you happiness and joy.


1In 2006, the Code of Points and the entire gymnastics scoring system were completely overhauled. The change stemmed from the judging controversy at 2004 Olympics in Athens, which brought the reliability and objectivity of the scoring system into question, and arguments that execution had been sacrificed for difficulty in artistic gymnastics. It follows a similarly radical scoring change in figure skating that also was prompted by irregularities in judging at major events

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