MyKayla Skinner Gears Up For Olympics Second Chance: “Doing This For Us, Simone Biles”

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TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 22: Mykayla Skinner and Simone Biles of Team United States pose for a photo during Women's Podium Training ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on July 22, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

MyKayla Skinner’s Olympics journey isn’t over yet. The 24-year-old pro gymnast didn’t originally qualify to compete in the Tokyo Games given the two-per-country limitation, but when Simone Biles announced her withdrawal from the individual uneven bars and vault finals on July 30, Skinner was given a second chance. She’ll step in for Biles during the vault event on Sunday.

“Looks like I get to put a competition Leo on just one more time,” Skinner reacted to the unexpected news on Instagram. “Can’t wait to compete in vault finals. Doing this for us @simonebiles ❤️ It’s go time baby!”

This return to the Olympics mat is especially signficant given Skinner’s impending retirement. She planned to bookend her athletic career with the Tokyo events, before returning to the University of Utah to finish her degree. After many years of competing — including a stint as an alternate during the Rio Olympics in 16 — Skinner said her “body definitely needs a rest after this last comeback.” She remains excited about the future, she explained in an Instagram post at the beginning of July. “As one door closes, another opens, and I’m excited for what’s ahead. For now I am going to focus on bringing home a medal or two this summer for Team USA. I have a lot of hard work ahead and want to promise that the world has yet to see my best gymnastics.”

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