Simone Biles: MyKayla Skinner posts emotional message in support of Olympic teammate

MyKayla Skinner will compete in the vault at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in place of Simone Biles

American gymnast MyKayla Skinner has posted an emotional message in support of her teammate Simone Biles, who has withdrawn from the vault and uneven bars finals.

USA Gymnastics confirmed four-time Olympic gold medallist Biles would not compete in tomorrow’s vault and uneven bars finals. The organisation posted on Twitter: "After further consultation with medical staff, Simone Biles has decided to withdraw from the event finals for vault and the uneven bars. She will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether to compete in the finals for floor exercise and balance beam."

"We remain in awe of Simone, who continues to handle this situation with courage and grace, and all of the athletes who have stepped up during these unexpected circumstances."

MyKayla Skinner will compete in the vault instead of Biles. She placed fourth in the vault qualifiers last week, but missed out on a place in the final after Sunisa Lee and Biles finished ahead of her.

Skinner, who travelled to Rio 2016 as an alternate but made her Olympic debut in Tokyo, posted an emotional message in support of her absent teammate. The 24-year-old had been due to leave Tokyo last Wednesday after competing in the qualifying event, but remained in the Japanese capital after Biles’s participation in the individual contests was put in doubt.

"Looks like I get to put a competition Leo on just one more time," Skinner posted. "Can’t wait to compete in vault finals. Doing this for us Simone Biles. It’s go time baby!"

Biles first withdrew from the artistic gymnastics team final last week, citing a need to "focus on her mental health". She then pulled out of the individual all-around contest. The 24-year-old has revealed she is struggling with the "twisties", a mental block sometimes suffered by gymnasts.

Former gymnast turned coach Christina Myers described the "twisties" to the BBC.

"Imagine skydiving and your parachute won’t open," she explained. "Your body starts adding extra twists and flips to the skill you’re supposed to be doing, and it can affect even the skills that feel as routine as walking to an elite gymnast. Your brain wants nothing more than to perform the intended skill correctly, but your body feels like it suddenly has a mind of its own."

Myers added: "Because the twisties are mainly psychological, the harder you try to push through, the harder the twisties push back."

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