"I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for her."
MyKayla Skinner dedicated her Olympic medal to Simone Biles on Sunday, Aug. 1, after winning silver in the individual vault competition. In an emotional speech, Skinner gave a sweet shoutout to Biles, who pulled out of the Olympic vault finals on July 30 to focus on her mental health. Check out how Skinner paid tribute to her teammate after winning silver for Team USA.
MyKayla Skinner took home the silver medal for the individual vault event on Sunday, an event she wasn’t expecting to compete in. Skinner had replaced Biles in the competition after Biles pulled out of the event to prioritize her health. Since only two athletes per country can participate in the individual artistic gymnastics events, Skinner joined teammate Jade Carey for the competition. Skinner completed both her vaults cleanly, coming in with a combined score of 14.196.
After winning the silver medal, Skinner shared an emotional speech about her teammate. “I dedicate this medal to Simone. I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for her,” she said, according to NPR. “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.”
Skinner also added that she felt “humbled to complete in the vault final,” since she hadn’t expected to participate in the competition after not qualifying. “I worked very hard, took time off from college and was an alternate in 2016,” she explained.
ICYMI, Biles announced that she’d pull out from the individual all-around on July 27 after struggling with her vault routine. She told reporters at the time, “I have to do what’s right for me and focus on my mental health and not jeopardize my health and well-being.” Biles shared that she had experienced the “twisties,” which is a gymnastics phenomenon where an athlete loses their sense of space in mid-air during their routine. As of Aug. 1, Biles only has one event left she has not withdrawn from at this year’s Games: the beam finals.
The unexpected twists within the USA Gymnastics team are only part of the surprises at the Tokyo Olympics. The games have been widely scrutinized because of COVID-related issues — Japan’s vaccination rate is incredibly low, and numerous athletes have tested positive.
Though Biles wasn’t able to participate in her expected competitions, it’s clear that her teammates are still supporting the all-star athlete and even stepping in to compete in her honor. With a silver medal win in tow, Skinner will be retiring from the Olympics.