The bond between Team USA’s gymnasts runs deep. MyKayla Skinner was given a second chance to compete in the Tokyo Olympic Games on vault on July 31 after Simone Biles withdrew from a few individual events. For Skinner, this unexpected opportunity provided her with one last chance to chase a medal before her planned retirement — and a successful chase it was. She ultimately took home the silver medal, which is an accomplishment years in the making and a rewarding bookend to her career. There’s perhaps no one who knows this feeling of triumph better than Biles, who led Skinner’s cheering section from the stands as she competed.
Skinner’s loved ones, including her husband, stayed back home in the US given the Games’ strict COVID-19 protocols. But Biles, along with teammates Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum were there to shout support from the sidelines as Skinner brought home the silver. Later, Biles shared a few words of support on her Instagram Story. “I’m so freaking proud of you,” she wrote to Skinner.
The support between Biles and Skinner goes both ways. “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.” As Skinner prepares to end her professional career, it’s incredible to see her lifted up by a teammate who has competed with her for years. See more photos of Biles cheering for Skinner, ahead.