Silver Lining To Silver Medal: MyKayla Skinner Reacts To Comeback Olympic Moment
Aug 1, 2021, 11:19 PM | Updated: Feb 14, 2023, 12:23 pm
TOKYO — MyKayla Skinner thought her gymnastics career was over a week ago. Now, she’s a silver medalist.
The former University of Utah gymnast performed well in the women’s gymnastics qualifying round but did not finish among the top two Americans in any event, which meant her Olympic competition was over. Until it wasn’t.
After teammate Simone Biles pulled out of finals for the team competition, individual all-around, vault and bars, it opened the door for Skinner to return to the competition floor in Tokyo one more time.
Skinner’s path to the podium was unconventional, to say the least, but how she got there really doesn’t matter. What matters is that she seized the moment she was given and showed she deserved to be there.
“Being able to go through all the trials we’ve been through, injuries, COVID-19 and to be able to have the Olympic games and to just be able to walk away with a silver medal has definitely been icing on the cake,” she told KSL after the vault competition. “Seriously, this has been so overwhelming and I’m just so grateful to be able to have this opportunity and so humbled to be able to go out one last time and to be able to now officially retire with an Olympic medal around my neck.”
After years of setbacks, Skinner made the most of her second chance. Her first vault scored a 15.03. Her second 14.8. Then she had to wait and watch as seven other gymnasts tried to beat her average. The patience paid off. Finally, after all these years, Skinner has Olympic glory.
— MyKayla Skinner (Harmer) (@mykaylaskinner) August 2, 2021
Her biggest cheerleader Sunday night was Simone Biles, the woman whose withdrawal from the event made Skinner’s second chance possible.
“Honestly she was just like, ‘I can’t wait to go out there and scream for you!'” Skinner said of Biles. “She’s like, ‘I just want you to medal.’ and you know, I kept telling her ‘I’m doing this for us,’ and she’s like, ‘You’re not doing it for us, you’re doing this for you,’ so, she’s just been so supportive and really trying to help me stay positive through all of this craziness and everything that’s been going on so she’s been awesome. She’s practically like a sister to me and I’m thankful to be the ‘OG’s’ of the team with her.”
Following the vault final, Skinner also thanked her supporters in Utah who have supported her through her All-American years at the U.
“They’ve been cheering for me since day one and I wouldn’t be here without their love and support. My Utah family is seriously so amazing and they’ve, you know, been cheering me on since college and even before I got there so to see them supporting me even until now and just cheering me on and wishing that I would have this moment and it finally came true and has been seriously so cool. So, thank you, to all of them. They have been such a blessing in my life and I love you Utah family so much!”
MyKayla Skinner has been through so much but never gave up on her dream to win an Olympic medal. Even a week ago she thought her dream was over. For her to turn this second chance into Silver is one of the best stories of @Tokyo2020 Congrats @mykaylaskinner @kslsports @KSL5TV pic.twitter.com/NzDNeSh1Pa
— Jeremiah Jensen (@JJSportsBeat) August 1, 2021