Why the "wolf turn" is such a big deal

A deceptively difficult gymnastics turn.
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Every Summer Olympics, gymnasts amaze viewers by performing incredibly complex and dangerous skills. As these routines get more and more complicated, they become harder to top -- and the latest way to add value and distinguish a routine is the wolf turn.
The wolf turn has actually been around for decades. But recently it’s become a favorite in balance beam and floor routines. A gymnast will get into a squat position with one leg stretched out. She’ll then stretch out her arms and wind them up. Once she finds her balance, she’ll start spinning. Finally, she’ll stop and return to her original stance.
Seems pretty simple, but the movement relies on a delicate balance of mass and inertia. One wobble and things fall apart. Of course, there’s a reason gymnasts perform this delicate balance: points. The turn is used strategically because its relatively high difficulty level means judges value it more than a regular turn.
To read more about how judges score gymnasts, check out this article from USA gymnastics: usagym.org/pages/events/pages/fig_scoring.html and this one from The Balance Beam Situation: balancebeamsituation.com/elite-skill-database/wolf-turn-double-balance-beam/
And make sure to check out Nicole Langevin’s podcast, What Makes You Think: www.audible.com/pd/Podcast/B08K56FCJV
To read more Simone Biles’s role in the 2020 Olympic Games, check out this explainer from Vox: www.vox.com/22596910/simone-biles-withdrawal-olympic-gymnastics-team-finals-results
And read all of Vox’s Tokyo Olympics coverage here: www.vox.com/22580164/tokyo-japan-olympics-2021-summer-covid
Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out www.vox.com.
Watch our full video catalog: goo.gl/IZONyE
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  • I love the name “wolf turn,” but through all my research I couldn’t figure out what it means! No one seems to know where it comes from. Let us know if you have any ideas! -Antonella

    VoxVoxAylar önce
    • @Skellabunny66/Jenny If it wasn't the pommel horse it may have been the parallel bars. Both require a lot of upper body strength and are very interesting to watch, but usually feet don't come into contact with the horse, while they can for the parallels. Otherwise there really isn't any other Men's event that has any base resemblance to the beam, not that either really resemble it.

      Avantika ShahaAvantika ShahaAylar önce
    • This gives me ice princess vibes

      Serena PalmerSerena PalmerAylar önce
    • @ramon … your first comment or ‘explanation’ had me 😂🤣🤣😭😂!! Niiice! .. I needed that, thanks 😂😉 …your other comments are refreshing as well.. “…the ‘elusive’ wolf turn..” * giggle fits * 😆 🤪

      Skellabunny66/JennySkellabunny66/JennyAylar önce
    • @kaleagh campbell I think you mean Wolfgang Puck

      ramonramonAylar önce
    • it comes from a wolf jump i think

      kaleagh campbellkaleagh campbellAylar önce
  • Very dangerous move for people with knee trouble. Don't try this just because.

    M PM P2 gün önce
  • yo disfrutando estos videos y ahora me doy cuenta de que vox dejó la política para hacer contenido deportivo

    Maël VennerMaël Venner3 gün önce
  • I think about this like landing skateboard tricks. Makes sense

    AozotraAozotra7 gün önce
  • yes, but can they parallel park in one try?

    Jay ThompsonJay Thompson11 gün önce
  • No, she did not pull off the double pike :/

    Snooby66Snooby6619 gün önce
  • Dude looks like a lady!!

    Will RogersWill Rogers20 gün önce
  • The utopian great-grandmother decisively apologise because indonesia spindly radiate of a hurried nic. sincere, opposite police

    Marcy StetzerMarcy Stetzer24 gün önce
  • Breakdown 720 head spin

    kevin fullerkevin fuller29 gün önce
  • Figure skaters are laughing at this... its a sit spin babe

    OliveOliveAylar önce
  • This is why real gymnastics fans HATE every 4 year fans.

    Isa bellaIsa bellaAylar önce
  • Admit it. You clicked for the thumbnail

    shiba inushiba inuAylar önce
  • Hello Why are u teaching us the trick ??

    Daughter PemaDaughter PemaAylar önce
  • the clothign diffs in olympia are actually sexist and unpleasant i a man and think we should rather talk bout that

    schimon shagedorunschimon shagedorunAylar önce
    • I am against banning women who want to cover more than the official outfit, A lot of skilled arab and Muslim women banned from participating because their outfit is covering her body, which should be a matter of personal freedom actually as it never affects the game judgement it self!

      Omar MohamedOmar Mohamed20 gün önce
  • Is this the turn my wolf does to bite her own tail?

    High Elven Wisdom And LoveHigh Elven Wisdom And LoveAylar önce
  • Thanks for explain cause i just think wolf turns are boring and i feel better knowing why people do it

    Fabio SantosFabio SantosAylar önce
  • This might be the only thing Vox has ever produced that is worthwhile. Wow. Ty for this video

    Kyla DohertyKyla DohertyAylar önce
  • wolf turn has to be the UGLIEST move in gymnasics

    Kiira KorpiKiira KorpiAylar önce
    • @ethan it is difficult to eat your own poop. why don't you go ahead and do it.

      Kiira KorpiKiira KorpiAylar önce
    • whatever dude its still difficult to do

      ethanethanAylar önce
  • Idk why but I can actually do them, the turns I mean, I’m not a gymnast I’m too tall, but these are the few things I can do

    Jenna FoxJenna FoxAylar önce
    • By do them, I mean I can get the general motion and not fall and flail. They are far from beautiful

      Jenna FoxJenna FoxAylar önce
  • Yesss. Give credit where credit is due!

    Step aheadStep aheadAylar önce
  • This is really so beautiful

    J3on_XookJ3on_XookAylar önce
  • David has 1 step :Teeth

    Mare KutlaMare KutlaAylar önce
  • Looking through the comments, it seems I'm not the only one who feels this move looks bad no matter how well executed it is. All the arm warbling just makes it look rough.

    Deltath RiylaanDeltath RiylaanAylar önce
  • practice and skill

    Tohn SmithTohn SmithAylar önce
  • k lol

    JupiterKnightJupiterKnightAylar önce
    • k lol

      ethanethanAylar önce
  • I can do the wolf turn too. But I only do it during a full moon.

    PukesPukesAylar önce
  • Jessica Alba: Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

    4saken4044saken404Aylar önce
  • Am I the only one tired of seeing wolf turn? Even well executed this skill just isnt interesting to watch

    Nour Ben brahimNour Ben brahimAylar önce
  • Figure skating's sit spin....

    Susan PapertSusan PapertAylar önce
  • Why does Nicole Langevin sound like Sarah Silverman?

    The One Ton HammerThe One Ton HammerAylar önce
  • I think these ladies need to focus more on the Down-Back position then a Heavy Kick for maximum output.

    cabdragon333cabdragon333Aylar önce
  • What's the most number of wolf turns someone has executed?

    Deleuze and GuitarsDeleuze and GuitarsAylar önce
  • How is it different than a sit spin in figure skating though ?! Sit spin is quite easy in my opinion

    Jenna DanielsJenna DanielsAylar önce
  • The beauty of TRvision, I have NO interest in gymnastics! But this was incredibly interesting!

    Michael MoranMichael MoranAylar önce
  • This was so informative.

    AritulAritulAylar önce
  • When she’s perfectly capable of pulling off moves like the wolf turn, why do the women still have to perform silly dance routines that the men don’t have to do.

    Zoe C.Zoe C.Aylar önce
    • Because women are still expected to be pretty things for people to look at 🙃

      tj shotj shoAylar önce
  • “WHY DO THEY ALWAYS HAVE TO DO THAT”

    aligned ring popaligned ring popAylar önce
  • ''... something Jessica Alba noticed.'' lol really... you could have quoted a gold medalist or something

    Jamie BrooksJamie BrooksAylar önce
  • Simon biles is overrated blm nonsense

    Akai IkaAkai IkaAylar önce
  • 2:15 ah yes, leg

    Random MosquitoRandom MosquitoAylar önce
  • Listening to that woman expert reminds me of why I hate the judging these sports. I doubt she could even manage to do one herself, so to discuss it with such an air of superiority is patently absurd. Have YOU been in the Olympics, Nicole? That would be a NO.

    Unremarkably TriggeredUnremarkably TriggeredAylar önce
  • this physics breakdown is giving me ice princess vibes

    madison chambleemadison chambleeAylar önce
  • I'm just sorry to see Vox is again US-Centric. It's weird to show only american gymnasts, when the US finished third in Gymnastics...

    Djinn MusicDjinn MusicAylar önce
  • Can we stop fanboying over Simone please

    Brady McDanielBrady McDanielAylar önce
  • I get that it's hard and all but I'm with Jessica Alba's husband on that one. "Why do they always have to do that?" by now it's such an overused turn, would love to see some more variety every once in a while but with that scoring system (having the athletes aim for higher difficulties rather than artistry on beam or floor) the beam and floor routines are getting more and more predictable and similar.

    Maddel97Maddel97Aylar önce
    • Wouldn't artistry be a more subjective thing to score whereas having gymnasts aim for skills with higher difficulty is more objective?

      Kate AllicockKate AllicockAylar önce
  • Those muscles!

    Leslee LaneLeslee LaneAylar önce
  • simone does it so well 😭😭😭

    lollolAylar önce
  • Her cossack turn has improved over the year, though I like more how rhythmic gymnast performed it, with a better axis and control, maybe the key factor is the ballet background for the balance

    PATEMPATEMAylar önce
  • Not a good ending to the video imo.

    Pablo FloresPablo FloresAylar önce
  • I wish they weren’t so popular. I used to think they were dope until I saw it over and over and over again. But Ik theyre hard I’ve tried and failed lol.

    mckenzie Qmckenzie QAylar önce
  • I really hate the way this turn looks and I hope we can move on to some other incredibly difficult turn. Simone's triple on the beam ALMOST changed my mind -- even those at the top so rarely are able to make it look graceful.

    Mikayla HollandMikayla HollandAylar önce
  • Ugliest turn ever.

    Brandon YBrandon YAylar önce
  • “Try to get into the starting position for the wolf turn” no thank you sir, I don’t want to be hospitalized

    maria croninmaria croninAylar önce
  • Starting from Sunday, August 15, 2021, exclusively, the first broadcast of the Egyptian program. Al-Jadaan on Fox One, Australia, be with us and watch all new, the official sponsor of Coca-Cola and Dr. Ather Azar Best times with David

    Pablo azar AzAR PabloPablo azar AzAR PabloAylar önce
  • Wolf turn? More like spider man pose 😌

    ThinLion FilmsThinLion FilmsAylar önce
  • Wolf turn? no no no, human beyblade.

    Wal nutWal nutAylar önce
  • they use this move in wushu as part of the routine. its extremely difficult to not lose balance.

    henryhenryAylar önce
  • Ahhh Dr. David Young was my phys 1 & 2 prof this past year! Best phys professor at LSU!!!!

    Mya DixonMya DixonAylar önce
  • Simone is a truly gifted person, one of many, but one of a kind.

    David O'ConnorDavid O'ConnorAylar önce
  • Dr. Young!! If you see this comment, I was a student of yours a couple years back for physics! You're the man Everyone please like this so my teacher can see my shoutout :)

    Sarah DawsonSarah DawsonAylar önce
  • Finally came to know how they give the score for gymnastics.

    Sai Srinivas PatnamSai Srinivas PatnamAylar önce
  • TLDR: Because it's hard.

    Hayden KearneyHayden KearneyAylar önce
  • 2:16 “All these movements require incredible strength, with gymnasts using mainly *[every muscle group]* ”

    Guy JackGuy JackAylar önce
  • "Because it's hard" isn't really a good enough answer for me 🤣 Lots of things can be hard to do. A spinning headstand is hard lol. I love watching gymnastics and I appreciate their hard work, but some of it is so weird. "Yeah it's cool and all you did a triple double quadruple backflip in your floor routine, but Becky did the one foot spin without falling over so, sorry, she wins"

    I Need Friends PodI Need Friends PodAylar önce
    • If it helps at all, the code of Points should be easy enough to find online. I'm rhythmic so not entirely familiar with the rules for Artistic gymnasts, but generally when putting together a routine there is some sort of rule about what range of elements must be included- you can't just tumble all the time, but have to include turns and balances for your routine to be valid. The gymnast then has to perfect many types of skill rather than relying on only being good at variations of the same thing. The code of Points lay out Points to be allocated for being able to pull off certain basic moves, with increased points for making those basics more difficult, I.e. a turn with your leg straight out gets extra points if you also bend your body over rather than holding yourself upright. This turn in particular vs a standard straight leg turn is more difficult so is awarded extra points, and that's why so many gymnasts have been using it

      sinesstuffsinesstuffAylar önce
  • It’s called practice!!!

    Iwatcher gamesIwatcher gamesAylar önce
  • They make it look so easy

    jack bajarjack bajarAylar önce
  • Thank you very much!

    Michelle GerlachMichelle GerlachAylar önce
  • How does she gain so much height at the end of the triple double

    RoffleMahWaffleRoffleMahWaffleAylar önce
  • 👍

    Raj ModiRaj ModiAylar önce
  • With Suni's win, you should do a short clip of the Hmong, from their migration from China to Southeast Asia to how they migrated to America.

    L GL GAylar önce
Why the "wolf turn" is such a big deal