2020 Tokyo Olympics: Meet MyKayla Skinner, Team USA Gymnast Who Could Replace Simone Biles in Individual Vault

by Keeli Parkey

It remains to be seen if sports fans across the globe will get to see Simone Biles compete once again during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Her withdrawal from both the women’s team competition and individual all-around has led to questions if she will take part in this weekend’s apparatus finals.

Biles reportedly withdrew from the team and all-around competitions in order to focus on her mental health. Should she decide that competing in the upcoming apparatus finals is not the best decision for her, other gymnasts from Team USA are ready to step in and compete.

One of those gymnasts is MyKayla Skinner. According to TODAY, the 24-year-old Skinner could take the place of Biles in the individual vault event during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Skinner did not qualify for the event finals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She finished behind both Simone Biles and Jade Carey on vault. That is her strongest event. Unsurprisingly, Skinner was upset by her results. But, she was still happy to take part in the competition.

“Just to be there and compete finally, after all these years and everything I’ve been through and all the trials,” Skinner said. “And just to persevere and get to where I am has been incredible.”

However, with the possible withdrawal of Simone Biles from those finals, she just might have the chance to compete again. That chance would be in the vault finals of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Sunday, Aug. 1.

Whatever happens, MyKayla Skinner is very happy to have been part of Team USA this year.

“I’m just so grateful,” Skinner also said. “And, I’m an Olympian. So no one can take that away from me.”

Her Journey to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Has Been a Long One for Team USA Gymnast MyKayla Skinner

Getting to be part of the Team USA gymnastics squad has been a dream of MyKayla Skinners for a long time. So, making the 2020 Tokyo Olympics team is very special to her.

In 2012, the Utah native was not asked to participate in the United States Olympic Trials. That event sent athletes to England to compete in the 2012 London Olympics. Four years later, Skinner was selected as an alternate for Team USA at the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil.

MyKayla Skinner has had a lot of gymnastics success at the collegiate level. While competing for the University of Utah, she became an All-American 26 times.

It was during 2019, that Skinner decided to try to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Unfortunately during 2020, Skinner was diagnosed with COVID-19 and was hospitalized. This made her question if she would be able to perform at an Olympic level.

“I survived,” she shared. “But yeah, I wanted to give up so many times. I was like, ‘I don’t know if I can do this anymore.'”

In an inspiring move, MyKayla Skinner didn’t give up. And, this resulted in her earning an individual spot on the team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“I’m really glad that I never gave up my dream and that I kept going,” Skinner also said. “And, have pushed myself to come back for this Olympics.”