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Debate

Did MyKayla Skinner's apology to Suni Lee and Jordan Chiles come too late to mend the rift?

It was a Friday night when MyKayla Skinner hosted a watch party on YouTube. She gave live commentary while she watched the USA Women’s Gymnastics Olympic Trials. And her daughter, who isn’t even a year old, watched some of the best gymnasts compete in order to go to Paris. However, in another video (now deleted) Skinner shared how she felt Team USA gymnasts lacked work ethics and she voiced doubts about the newly selected members, including Jordan Chiles, Suni Lee, Jade Carey, and newcomer Hezly Rivera.

Her comments, which appeared to target Suni Lee and Jordan Chiles specifically, even drew criticism from Jordan’s mother, Gina Chiles, and Simone Biles herself. Shortly after facing a backlash from the gymnastics community, MyKayla Skinner issued an apology.

On July 3, 2024, MyKayla Skinner took to her Instagram stories, and posted a video captioned, “Just clearing up what had been said on my current video!”

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In the video, she said, “Hey guys just wanted to pop on here really quick coz I know we did the re-cap on YouTube and I feel like a lot of you guys had misinterpreted or misunderstood exactly what I was meaning or had said. I mean, a lot of the stuff that I was talking about wasn’t always necessarily about the current team because I love and support all the girls that made it and I’m so proud of them. It was more about going back into my own gym and just the work ethic is different compared to when we were doing gymnastics in the Márta (Károlyi) era.”

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Did MyKayla Skinner just cross the line with her heated comment? React!

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However, with Martha Karolyi and Bela Karolyi as the Team’s coordinators, many things went wrong. The husband-and-wife pair were accused of emotionally and verbally abusing gymnasts. They were also named as co-defendants in many civil lawsuits filed against Larry Nassar. Post this, SafeSport was pushed into the limelight. It is an independent organization that aims to prevent athlete abuse.

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During her watch party on YouTube, Skinner also shared how stressful the trials were, from her own experience. In fact, she even recalled how she would be afraid of the balance beam and had to mentally prepare herself right before her turn. But this time, she felt a bit odd being on the other side and just watching the competitions.

Hence, it seems her original comments were made from her own experiences. Apologizing, she further said, “And I’m not sticking up for Márta or saying what she did was good; I’m just saying it was different. So anyway, sorry for anything that got out of context or seemed hurtful; that was never my intention and seriously, throughout the video, I was so pumped for the girls and it was so fun watching trials and doing a live with everybody.”

Regardless, on June 30, Team USA shared that Simone Biles, Suni Lee, Jordan Chiles, Jade Carey, and Hezly Rivera were on the team and Joscelyn Roberson and Leanne Wong would be traveling replacements.

“I love those girls and I’m seriously so happy for them, so I would never do anything to make them feel otherwise. So sorry if that came out wrong. That was not my intention at all.” While the Olympian apologized for her comments, the backlash had already started.

MyKayla Skinner was called out by Jordan Chiles’ mother and Simone Biles!

In a now-deleted YouTube video, MyKayla Skinner, the 2021 silver medalist on vault, shared her candid thoughts on Team USA heading to the 2024 Paris Olympics. She expressed concerns about the team’s talent and work ethic. She said, “Besides Simone, I feel like the talent and the depth just isn’t what it used to be. I mean, obviously, a lot of girls don’t work as hard. The girls just don’t have the work ethic.”

MyKayla also critiqued SafeSport regulations, suggesting they have softened athletes’ competitiveness. ” Coaches can’t get on athletes. And they have to be really careful with what they say, which in some ways is really good but at the same time, to get really good in gymnastics, you do have to be a little aggressive and a little intense.”

Skinner’s remarks didn’t stop there; she downplayed the absence of the Russian team and made pointed comments about Jordan Chiles and Suni Lee’s performances, which sparked a backlash from fans and fellow gymnasts alike.

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In the deleted video, she mentioned, “It’s just some of the other girls that fell twice and still ending up in second place in the all-around is just kind of crazy to me.” It seems she was referring to day two of the Gymnastic Olympic Trials, where the balance beam witnessed a couple of mistakes. For instance, Biles and Chiles fell once, whereas Suni Lee fell almost twice.

Jordan Chiles’ mom, Gina, swiftly defended the team and took to X. “Whoa. She really said that out loud and posted it. That’s something…”

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Meanwhile, Simone Biles, Jordan’s best friend, defended her Paris Olympics teammates and responded on Threads, “Not everyone needs a mic and a platform.” Many saw this as a subtle dig at Skinner’s podcast with her husband.

As we reflect on these heated tensions sparked by MyKayla Skinner’s words and subsequent apology, what are your opinions on the situation? Share your thoughts in the comments below!