Gymnast MyKayla Skinner chatted with Access Hollywood’s Scott Evans after her Olympic dream was cut short after she failed to qualify at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. MyKayla praised fellow teammate Simone Biles for showing her support during the difficult time.
“I texted (Simone) that night and I was like, ‘I’m crying, I can’t keep it in.’ I talked to her this morning and she was like, ‘I was about to come into your room but I was like, I’m just gonna let you be. Soak it all in, you know.’ Definitely a lot of tears shed last night,” MyKayla said.
MyKayla Skinner's Big Layout Double Double (USA) - Day 1 Training, Jesolo 2016
Watch MyKayla Skinner's (USA) big Double Double during the first day of training at Jesolo 2016!
MyKayla Skinner never looked up. She sat on the floor at the Olympic gymnastics qualifying round and distracted herself. She talked to her coach, fixed her tape, but her eyes never wandered down the runway toward the vault.
It was as if she didn't want to witness her hard-fought dreams coming to an end.
But when her teammate Jade Carey all but flawlessly landed her second vault of the night moments later, Skinner had to look and accept the moment. Carey's triumph marked her exit.
Skinner's Olympics -- something she had famously worked so hard for -- were effectively over after a single day of competition. Carey secured the United States' second spot in the vault final, behind Simone Biles, just as she had on floor. Skinner couldn't hide the tears streaming down her face.
And really, it shouldn't have happened that way at all.
First, there is the hated two-per-country rule. Skinner, 24, had the fourth-highest score of the day -- in the world -- on vault, yet she was the odd woman out. Viktoria Listunova, the 2021 European all-around champion, fell victim to the same outdated policy just hours earlier, barring her from the all-around final. It's fair to say the rule is widely despised -- and has a long history of disqualifying some of the top gymnasts in the sport.
Next, there was a convoluted system of individual qualifiers, and a U.S. selection committee that bafflingly chose two gymnasts who would directly compete with each other for the same medals.
Skinner and Carey were competing as individuals -- something new for the 2020 Games and instantly marred in so much controversy, the option won't even exist in 2024. While part of the U.S. contingent in Tokyo, Skinner and Carey are not members of the team, the one that's likely to win gold on Tuesday in the final. Instead they were there to vie for individual events and the all-around spots only.
Carey locked up her individual spot last year by competing in World Cup competitions. In choosing that path, she became the only American who could truly be in charge of her own destiny -- and not rely on a selection committee to determine her fate -- but that all but excluded her from being named to the four-person team, as it would take a spot away from the U.S. allotment if she were to do that.
TOKYO – U.S. gymnast MyKayla Skinner is continuing to train if she is called upon to replace Simone Biles in the Olympic vault final Sunday.
Skinner’s coach Lisa Spini said Friday that she and Skinner were “going to leave (Japan) but were asked to stay” after Biles dropped out of the team final Tuesday with mental health concerns.
Biles also did not compete in the all-around final Thursday, replaced by Jade Carey, who finished eighth.
Biles said on Instagram Friday that she continues to experience the “twisties” — unable to be certain of where she is in the air — and that they are affecting her on all four events.
Skinner would be in position to take Biles' spot after finishing fourth (14.866) on vault qualifying on Sunday, finishing behind Biles (15.183) and Carey (15.166). The 24-year-old did not make the eight-woman final based on a limitation of two gymnasts per country.