“So proud of this one,” Biles, 24, wrote via her Instagram Story on Sunday, July 25, with a white heart emoji. “No one understands the hard work and dedication it takes to come back from collegiate gymnastics and make an olympic team.”
After being an alternate at 2016 Olympics, Skinner, 24, became a student at the University of Utah where she competed at the collegiate level. She left school in her junior year to fight for a spot at the Tokyo Olympics. After officially qualifying as an Olympian at the beginning of July, the athlete announced that she’d retire after the Tokyo games.
“The Olympics this summer will mark my last gymnastics competition before I officially retire,” Skinner said in a statement to her university at the time. “I have nothing but good things to say about Utah Gymnastics, from the organization, the athletes, the fans, to Coach Tom and the staff. I will return to finish my degree and graduate at the U, and will forever be a Red Rock.”
The Arizona native qualified as an individual, so she is not part of the team that Biles will compete alongside later this week. Only two gymnasts per country can advance to a final, and Skinner was hoping for either vault or floor exercise. However, on Sunday, she finished just behind her fellow Americans, Biles and Jade Carey, ending her career at the event.
The GOAT had to give it up for her fellow “grandma” after the loss as Skinner and Biles are the oldest Team USA gymnasts. While Carey is 21, the rest won’t be able to celebrate their success with champagne in the states. Sunisa Lee and Grace McCallum are both 18 while Jordan Chiles is 20.
“You did the damn thing! Thanks for reminding us that grandmas can do it too!” Biles added. “Thanks for keeping gym light hearted and fun! I love you Ms Olympian.”
Her friend appreciated the support. “Don’t know what I would do without youuuu!!!” Skinner replied with a kiss emoji. “Thanks sis.”
In a statement after the competition, Skinner shared via Twitter, “Heart broken but feeling sooo humbled and blessed for the amazing performance I had tonight! You have all brought me to tears thanks for being my biggest cheerleaders!”