A few days ago, MyKayla Skinner thought she had retired.
The 24-year-old competed as an individual specialist in the qualification round of the women's artistic gymnastics competition and scored high enough to place fourth behind Simone Biles and Jade Carey on vault. But a rule that only allows two gymnast per country to advance to event finals meant that Skinner wouldn't get to compete for an individual medal. It seemed an Olympic dream that took three attempts to materialize had come to an end. Then Biles withdrew from the vault final and opened a spot for a second American to compete.
Skinner stepped up and hit her two vaults in the competition to win a silver, her first Olympic medal.
On her first vault, a Cheng, she scored a 15.033. She added a 14.800 on her second vault, an Amanar, and finished with an average of 14.916. Only Rebeca Andrade of Brazil finished with a higher average, a 15.083 that won her gold.
Jade Carey, who entered the final heavily favored to win a medal, had an uncharacteristic error on the run up to her first vault. She stutter stepped before doing a round-off onto the springboard and couldn't get enough height to safely complete the Cheng. She successfully performed an Amanar as her second vault, but the average scores resulted in her placing eighth.