MyKayla Skinner Reveals How Simone Biles Changed Her Destiny at the Tokyo Olympics

Published 08/02/2021, 8:30 AM EDT
Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Gymnastics Artistic Training – Ariake Gymnastics Centre, Tokyo, Japan – July 22, 2021 Mykayla Skinner of the United States and Simone Biles of the United States pose for a photograph during training REUTERS/Mike Blake


Last week, Simone Biles cited mental health issues as her reason for withdrawing from the team event of the Tokyo Olympics. In the coming days, she withdrew from the individual all-around final, vault final and floor exercise final.

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Her withdrawal from the vault final meant fellow American MyKayla Skinner got the opportunity yesterday. And Skinner did not disappoint, clinching her first Olympic medal in her first individual final appearance.

MyKayla Skinner benefits from Simone Biles’ withdrawal in the Tokyo Olympics

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While she finished far off the qualifying scores in other events, Skinner put in the fourth highest score on the vault. However, the top two scores belonged to Biles and fellow American Jade Carey. Since the rules dictate only two athletes from a single NOC can qualify for the final, Skinner missed out on making the final.

Biles’ withdrawal from the final yesterday meant Skinner would make her first appearance in an individual Olympic final. And the 24-year-old did not disappoint, clinching a silver medal in the event. In fact, her total score was just 0.17 points shy of Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade, who clinched gold with a score of 15.083.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Gymnastics – Artistic – Men’s Individual All-Around – Final – Ariake Gymnastics Centre, Tokyo, Japan – July 28, 2021. Simone Biles of the United States and Mykayla Skinner of the United States wearing protective face masks pose REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

After the victory, Skinner revealed how Ba message from Biles turned her tournament around. She said“I was actually going to get on a plane to go home. I wasn’t expecting any of this to happen. I was like [my teammates] are going to be fine, they are going to be good.

“Simone was like, ‘Text MyKayla and tell her not to go home in case she has to step in.’ She was on it like that.”

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Skinner admits she was surprised on learning she would compete in the vault final

From almost boarding a plane back home, Skinner ended her maiden Olympic appearance on a high. She revealed how she was consoling herself a few days before. “It took two days before I was like, ‘OK, I’m good, I did my best.'”

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However, Biles’ withdrawal changed the complexion of her journey in the Tokyo Olympics. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh I am going to be competing again,’” she said. “To be able to change my mindset has been a little bit difficult.”

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Although Skinner’s journey in Tokyo did not have the best of starts, it surely finished in spectacular fashion.

WATCH STORY: WOW! Here Are the Most Epic All-Around Routines Performed by Simone Biles at Rio Olympics

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Sanket Nair

643 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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