“Is this really a person from our planet?” – Maria Paseka on “huge incentive” Simone Biles

“Is this really a person from our planet?” – Maria Paseka on “huge incentive” Simone Biles
Russian world champion Maria Paseka spoke on Simone Biles

“Is this really a person from our planet?” – Maria Paseka on “huge incentive” Simone Biles

A little over a month ago, the head coach of Russian artistic gymnastics, Valentina Rodionenko stated that Simone Biles, widely considered the best gymnast of all time, “had no great performance”.

Now, a former member of the Russian national team and two-time World Champion on the vault, Maria Paseka, has come to the American’s defense. Paseka and Biles shared the international stage a multitude of times, with the latter emerging victorious far more often than not.

Speaking about competing with Simone, Maria told Sport.ru,
“We performed together, and for me, she was a huge incentive. For a long time I dreamed of winning against her, and this was only possible if she made a mistake. And according to the law of meanness, she made mistakes only when I was not at the competition!”
Where Rodionenko has an issue with Simone Biles’ seemingly impossible flips, Paseka spoke with awe of the American’s talent.
“Biles is a gymnast of unique talent. I don’t even understand how she manages to do some things. I would like to ask: is this really a person from our planet?”
Maria Paseka was part of the Russian national team between 2010 and 2021, and during her time there, she specialized in the vault. It was on this apparatus that she won her two Olympic silvers and two World Championships golds.

While Simone has consistently been an all-around gymnast, there is no denying her prowess on the vault with moves like the Biles and the Biles II (a Yurchenko Double Pike).Paseka reminisced about one of the times she beat the Olympic champion on the vault, saying,
“The only time I managed to win was at the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow. And that’s because she didn’t perform her most difficult vault, but I did mine. I won then, the girl from the PRK (Hong Un-jong) was second, and Simone was third.
The Russian went on to detail that while competing with Biles was always difficult, the 26-year-old was very friendly otherwise.
“Personally, I have always liked Simone. Off the platform, she is very cheerful and friendly. In Rio 2016, after the jump, she came up to me to congratulate me, but I’m taller than her, I didn’t even immediately notice who was poking me in the back.”
Russian head coach Valentina Rodionenko on Simone Biles
In an interview with Match TV last month, the head coach of the Russian artistic gymnastics team, Valentina Rodionenko, lashed out at Simone Biles for her massive medal haul at the 2023 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships.This was the first time that Simone was back in action at an international competition, after a two-year-long hiatus. While most were caught up in seeing the powerful American perform and win once again, Rodionenko had an issue with Biles’ results.
“I want to express my regrets about Biles’ victory. What is gymnastics? It’s scary to watch it! Do you think there is at least some kind of aesthetic there – low? There is simply nothing to watch. She has no great performance, only difficulty. She only wins through difficulty.”
Many were offended by the Russian’s statement, but Simone Biles seemed unbothered as she has yet to address this issue.