Finishing fourth all-around in the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials, 19-year-old Mykayla Skinner will go to the Rio 2016 Olympics as an alternate for Team USA.
Although the top five gymnasts in the US join the Olympic Team, other factors play a part in choosing Team USA as well. While Mykayla finished fourth all around, the judges chose to place Gabby Douglas and Madison Kocian on the Olympic Team because of their experience (Douglas won all-around gold in the London 2012 Olympics) and strength on the uneven bars event (in which Kocian placed first).
Mykayla Skinner, who attends the Bella Vista Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Gilbert, Arizona, placed second on vault, fifth on the floor event, fifth on the balance beam, and twelfth on the uneven bars.
However, because the Selection Committee chooses the Olympic Team, her relatively low placement on the uneven bars determined her status as an alternate.
The US Gymnastics Team will send Simone Biles (who placed first all-around at the Olympic Trials), Aly Raisman, Laurie Hernandez, Gabby Douglas, and Madison Kocian. Ashton Locklear, Ragan Smith, and Skinner will attend Rio as alternates in case one of the five Olympic gymnasts are unable to compete.
While Skinner is disappointed to not make the US Gymnastics Team, she maintains her determination as well as her faith. According to the Deseret News, “Skinner spends more than 30 hours each week in the gym, but she does not train on Sundays. She believes this has helped her become stronger both physically and spiritually.”
On her Instagram, Skinner posted a picture of herself competing on the uneven bars, sounding positive and cheering on Team USA. Even though she won’t necessarily compete, she sounds determined to attend and enjoy the Rio Olympics.
The 2016 Summer Olympic Games will start in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 5, 2016.