When Simone Biles withdrew from the women’s team gymnastics competition and the individual all-around, it remained to be seen whether fans would get to watch her compete at all during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Now, Biles has decided to withdraw from two more events—the uneven bars and vault events.
She will be replaced by MyKayla Skinner for the vault event this weekend. The question of whether or not Simone Biles will compete in her last two eligible events on Monday and Tuesday has not yet been answered. But the recent developments, with Biles being so open about her struggles with mental health and her previous withdrawals led to MyKayla Skinner being tapped as the imminent backup.
As an alternate at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Skinner placed behind both Biles and Jade Carey during qualification. Despite her position as a backup, Skinner couldn’t have been more excited by the opportunity.
“Just to be there and compete finally, after all these years and everything I’ve been through and all the trials. And just to persevere and get to where I am has been incredible. I’m just so grateful. And, I’m an Olympian. So no one can take that away from me,” Skinner told Today.
Those comments were made before she knew that Simone Biles would be withdrawing from the vault event. Now, her world has changed. MyKayla Skinner has a chance to compete for a medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. And her journey getting to this point was far from easy.
She has been pursuing this dream for what has essentially been her entire life. And in 2020, she was diagnosed and subsequently hospitalized with COVID-19. Especially for an Olympic athlete, that’s not an easy thing to come back from on such short notice.
MyKayla Skinner’s Qualifying Performance
But come back she did. MyKayla Skinner competed in the qualifiers. And after she placed fourth among Americans in the all-around with a score of 55.398, she was getting ready to leave Tokyo. That is until Simone Biles’ withdrawal became a possibility.
Vault is Skinner’s strongest event. She earned a score of 14.933, putting her behind both Biles and Carey. That originally meant she wouldn’t be in the rotation. But with Biles’ withdrawal, the second spot opened right back up. Now, Skinner is extending her stay in Japan.
Team USA Gymnasts Stepping Up at 2020 Tokyo Olympics
While fans were looking forward to the opportunity to see Biles compete again, other Team USA gymnasts have been stepping to the plate. Yesterday, we got to see Suni Lee take home a gold medal that may have otherwise belonged to Biles.
It’s not the way anyone wanted things to happen. But other American Olympians getting chances to shine is a small silver lining.
Now, it’s MyKala’s turn to make her mark.