The somersaults, tumbles, flips, dips, and caught landings on the U.S. Gymnastics Championships this previous June set off a deluge of gifs, video-embedded tweets, and TikToks. However even with all of the beautiful, “I-would-bust-my-ass-if-I-ever-tried-that” acrobatics, a easy second, associated solely tangentially to athleticism, struck a chord with many of us on-line.

Simone Biles, the world’s most adorned gymnast, was filmed rigorously, dutifully tying a ribbon into her teammate Zoe Miller’s hair. She positioned it, fairly unfussily, on the base of Miller’s excessive bun. You’ll be able to inform it is one thing she’s achieved one million occasions earlier than, a manifestation of the camaraderie between her and her teammates. It was virtually like a pure reflex as Miller plopped down in entrance of Biles, who wordlessly went to work including the flourish to her look. 

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It is easy to grasp why this easy motion went viral. These gymnasts routinely carry out feats that many people could not even start to think about executing. However tying a bow into another person’s hair? It is one thing many people have achieved — in highschool earlier than a basketball recreation, for our youthful siblings as we received prepared for church, for the itty-bitty flower lady at a buddy’s wedding ceremony.

This second additionally gave us a short glimpse into what hair upkeep is like for aggressive gymnasts, who’re obligated to observe a easy normal put forth by the Nationwide Girls’s Program Committee. In line with the 2020/2021 USA ladies’s Gymnastics guidelines and coverage handbook, an athlete’s hair should be secured and pulled again sufficient to not hinder their imaginative and prescient. These (fairly sensible) laws are supposed to optimize the efficiency of any skilled gymnast on the mat. However for Black gymnasts, who are sometimes topic to further scrutiny from the general public for his or her look, the principles present a possibility to place the flexibility of Black hairstyling on show. 

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