This Panamanian Gymnast Managed to Do Something Only Simone BiIes Has Ever Done

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres
Art by Stephany Torres
Read more

Panama’s Hillary Heron wrote her name into the history books on Sunday (October 1), becoming the first gymnast to ever perform one of the skills named for Simone Biles at a Worlds Championship. Heron achieved the feat during the 2023 Artistic Gymnastics World Championship in Antwerp, Belgium.

Almost 10 years to the date Biles got that skill named after her, Heron performed the Biles during her floor exercise. Not only that, she did it in front of Biles, back to dominating the competition after taking a break post-Tokyo 2020. In fact, Biles also made history on October 1st, landing a Yurchenko double pike on vault, becoming the first woman ever to do so in competition. That means the skill will now also be named after her. 

The move Heron landed on the floor consists of a double layout with a half twist. Only 5 gymnasts, including Biles, have ever successfully completed this move. Heron is the first non-US athlete to do so.

This is 19-year-old Hillary Heron’s first Gymnastics World Championship. She’s competing as a specialist in all 4 apparatus: floor, beam, vault, and uneven bars.

“In general it has been a good competition,” Heron told Gimnasia Latina. “Despite being here as a specialist on the four apparatus, I have managed to score 50 in the ‘All Around’ and I am very satisfied with that.”

“There are little things to improve, details that did not turn out as I expected and that motivates me to continue working hard because I am not participating, I am competing,” she added.

The 52nd edition of the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships will determine the majority of nations and individuals that will compete at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Until then, congratulations Hillary Heron!