MyKayla Skinner is retiring from gymnastics as a silver medal winner at the Tokyo Olympics, an opportunity afforded to her after Simone Biles withdrew from the vault finals to focus on her mental health
“I dedicate this medal to Simone. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for her,” Skinner said. “I told her I would be doing this one for her. She said, ‘don’t do it for me, do it for yourself,’ so technically it’s for all of us.”
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Skinner, an Arizona native, believed her retirement would begin a week prior as she shared a bittersweet note via Instagram describing her heartbreak over the end of her gymnastics career while remaining optimistic about the future.
On Saturday, Biles confirmed she was pulling out of the event and Skinner would be replacing her. Skinner’s scored a total combined score of 14.916 from two vaults, ending between gold medalist Rebecca Andrade of Brazil and South Korea’s Yeo Seojeong who won bronze.
Skinner faced many challenges before Tokyo, including a battle with Covid-19 and pneumonia that made her question if she wanted to continue as a gymnast. After a month away from training, she persevered and headed earned a spot to compete at the Olympics as an individual competitor after not making the official U.S. team.
She plans to retire in her home state and is looking forward towards a future as a sports journalist.
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