How does she do these mesmerizing, graceful and incredibly difficult moves?

Video A breakdown of how Simone Biles performs her incredible gravity-defying gymnastic routinePhoto by Agência Brasil Fotografias/Wikimedia Commons
Social Simone Biles Wednesday, August 17, 2016 - 19:50

Three-time world champion Simone Biles of the US wowed the world at Rio this year with her gravity-defying routines.

But how does she do these mesmerizing, graceful and incredibly difficult moves?

Her signature move called the ‘the Biles’ (yes, it’s named after her) is done entirely in the layout position where the entire body is outstretched. But what makes it astounding is not the flips, but the mid-air twist before her blind landing.

This Quartz video breaks down the physics of how she does this. Watch it here.

Biles has an added advantage – she is both short and packs a lot of strength, allowing her to jump with a lot of momentum. The manoeuvre is powered entirely by one jump and while the young gymnast makes it seem effortless, the limited arena requires immense precision on her part to be able to complete the move and land within the boundary.

While initially the layouts were done only by men, the entry of women into the competition has given rise to complex routines which push physical limits. And they perform it with just as much finesse.

Biles is the most successful American gymnast ever, winning a record 19 Olympic and World Championship medals. By winning her fourth Olympic gold at Rio, she has become only the fourth gymnast to win four golds at a single Olympic Games.

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