The 'grandma' of Team USA's gymnastics squad came out of a short-lived retirement and shined to win silver in Tokyo

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MyKayla Skinner competes in the Tokyo Olympics vault final.
MyKayla Skinner competes in the Tokyo Olympics vault final. AP Photo/Ashley Landis

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MyKayla Skinner's gymnastics career was over, until it wasn't anymore.

The 24-year-old "grandma" of Team USA's women's gymnastics squad had resolved to retire from the sport after she failed to qualify for any of the Olympic finals in Tokyo. Following the women's qualification event on July 25 - where a controversial rule that limits each country to two athletes per final left Skinner on the outs - she even crafted an Instagram post about the "hole in my heart" left by "closing the book on my gymnastics career."

One week later, she earned herself a silver medal.

MyKayla Skinner wins silver in the women's vault final at the Tokyo Olympics.
MyKayla Skinner wins silver in the women's vault final at the Tokyo Olympics. Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

When international gymnastics superstar Simone Biles' withdrew from the women's vault final in Tokyo due to mental health concerns, Skinner - who had recorded the fourth-best score on the apparatus during the qualifying round - was granted one last surprise opportunity to compete.

"Looks like I get to put a competition Leo on just one more time," Skinner wrote on Instagram. "Can't wait to compete in vault finals. Doing this for us @simonebiles ❤️ It's go time baby!"

 

And she made the most of it.

As the first gymnast to hit the runway, Skinner pulled out two stunning skills to set the tone for the event and earn an impressive 14.916 average score. She debuted with a Cheng - consisting of a round-off twist onto the table followed by 1.5 rotating flips - and earned an impressive 15.033 to kick things off.

MyKayla Skinner completes one of her two vaults during the event final.
MyKayla Skinner completes one of her two vaults during the event final. Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Gilbert, Arizona, native followed up that effort with an Amanar: a round-off back handspring onto the vault with 2.5 twists during a back layout on the back end. Despite a tiny hop and one foot on the out-of-bounds line, the performance was near-flawless and earned a solid 14.800.

Only Rebeca Andrade - the 22-year-old Brazilian who won silver in the individual all-around final - could best Skinner's efforts, and she did so by razor-thin margins. After both had performed, just .167 separated the two stars' final scores.

MyKayla Skinner and Rebeca Andrade pose with their medals after the Tokyo Olympics women's vault final.
MyKayla Skinner (left) and Rebeca Andrade pose with their medals after the Tokyo Olympics women's vault final. Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

When all was said and done, Skinner's gymnastics career had come to a close for the second time in just a few days. But this time around, she really means it - and she'll walk away with a silver medal draped around her neck.

Read the original article on Insider