It just might now be MyKayla Skinner’s or Jade Carey’s turn to shine for USA Gymnastics.
Simone Biles withdrew in recent days from the all-around, vault and uneven bars competitions at the Tokyo Olympics while dealing with a mental health condition known in gymnastics circles as the “twisties,” in which she loses her place in the air and is at high risk for injury when she lands, leaving the door open for other U.S. gymnasts such as Skinner or Casey.
Biles — whose status for Tuesday’s balance beam final is still unknown — also removed herself from Monday’s floor exercise final, USA Gymnastics announced Sunday.
As for Carey and Skinner, they will compete in the vault finals, after scoring the second- and fourth-highest scores, respectively, during qualifying. Despite Skinner’s high vault score, she initially was left out of the finals on the two-per-team rule, but now she will replace Biles.
“Looks like I get to put a competition [leotard] on just one more time,” the 24-year-old Skinner wrote on Twitter. “Can’t wait to compete in vault finals. Doing this for us @Simone_Biles. It’s go time baby!”
Skinner’s coach, Lisa Spini, told USA Today that the two were set to leave Tokyo before Biles dropped out.
“[MyKayla] is doing really well in training,” Spini said. “Her vaults in qualifying were not her best. This wouldn’t be exactly how you want to get an opportunity, but you take it. Her first dream was to be an Olympian and her second was to medal.”
Carey finished eighth in the all-around after taking Biles’ spot, but she showed her capabilities during qualifying two days earlier.
Biles’ absence already has created one new American star: Suni Lee won the gold in the all-around, edging fellow medalists Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade and Angelina Melnikova of the Russian Olympic Committee. Lee can add to her medal collection — including USA’s silver in the team competition after Biles withdrew — as the only American competing in the uneven bars final.