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Tokyo silver medalist McKayla Skinner apologizes for criticizing non-Simone Biles members of Team USA

July 7th, 2024

McKayla Skinner and Simone Biles competed together at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

McKayla Skinner, a silver medalist in the 2020 Olympics, issued an apology Saturday for comments criticizing the work ethic of some of the presenters on Team USA’s 2024 squad.

The 27-year-old had received considerable blowback in the gymnastics community due to a post-Olympic Trials YouTube stream in which she said the non-Simone Biles presenters of the team were lacking in work ethic, which she partially blamed on the U.S. Center for SafeSport. The video has since been deleted, but clips remain on social media.

The crux of Skinner’s comments:

“Besides Simone, I feel like the talent and the depth just isn’t what it used to be. I mean, obviously, a lot of girls just don’t work as hard. The girls just don’t have the work ethic. It’s hard too because of SafeSport. Coaches can’t get on athletes and they have to be really careful what they say, which in some ways is really good, but at the same time, to get to where you need to be in gymnastics you do have to be a little aggressive, a little intense.”

SafeSport is the organization tasked with preventing the sexual abuse of athletes, which has been a pervasive issue for USA Gymnastics for decades.

Skinner initially responded to the backlash with a quick video in which she said her comments were misinterpreted, but capitulated three days later with a full apology. She divulged she was coming to terms with “the emotional and verbal abuse” she endured while training under former national team coordinator Márta Károlyi.

Among the many gymnasts and fans to lay into Skinner before the apology was Biles, who posted “not everyone needs a mic and a platform” via Threads on Thursday.

Skinner won her silver medal in the vault in Tokyo after taking Biles’ place as an alternate in the event, where the star was overwhelmingly favored to take gold until her fight with the “twisties” derailed her Olympic program. Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade won the event instead.

After welcoming her first child in September, Skinner did not compete to make the 2024 team for Paris. This olympiad’s team will be composed of the resurgent Biles, 2020 all-around champ Sunisa Lee, Jordan Chiles, Jade Carey and Hezley Rivera. Each of those gymnasts save for Rivera competed alongside Skinner at Tokyo.

Depth might actually be an issue for Team USA, but mostly because of injuries. Three different gymnasts with a significant chance to make the team — Shilese Jones, Skye Blakely and Kayla DiCello — had to bow out of the competition with significant injuries.

This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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