MyKayla Skinner put her standout college gymnastics career on hold to take one more shot at the Olympic Games.
The 22-year-old might have just upped her chances.
On Sunday, Skinner posted a video to her social media showing her performing a triple-twisting, double somersault into a soft mat. The new video comes six days after she posted another video of the newly-en-vogue-yet-extremely-difficult floor exercise skill on what appeared to be a bouncier floor.
Until the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in August, no woman had performed the skill in competition. Four-time Olympic champion Simone Biles became the first, landing it cleanly on the second night of competition, and in the following weeks Jade Carey and now Skinner have shared videos of them landing the triple-double in training.
Another American, Skye Blakely, also posted a video of her practicing a triple-double on Aug. 28, though the junior-level gymnast did so off a trampoline surface and landing in a foam pit.
The difficult skill is pushing the limits of scoring in gymnastics. The system currently grades skills on a scale between A (easiest) and I (hardest), but according to a Wall Street Journal story the triple-double is expected to go one step further and be counted as a J skill.
Adding the triple-double would be a massive boost for Skinner.
After being named an alternate for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team, Skinner retired from elite gymnastics and moved on to collegiate gymnastics at Utah, where she won two NCAA titles in three years, while finishing second in the NCAA all-around as a freshman and sophomore.
In April, following her junior season, she announced she’d be taking a break from collegiate gymnastics to make one more go of it at the elite level. At the time, that left her roughly 15 months until the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
In August, she returned to the U.S. Gymnastics Championships for the first time since 2016 and finished third on vault and fifth on floor — her two best events — while taking eighth in the all-around. That was enough to earn her a spot on the national team. Now she’ll aim to make the five-woman U.S. team for the world championships in October in Stuttgart, Germany. The U.S. team will be announced following a selection camp later this month in Florida.
Biles remains the only woman to have landed the triple-double in competition. Should one of the gymnasts successfully perform the skill at the world championships, the skill would take on that person’s name in the code of points; however, if more than one competed it at worlds, it would take both (or all three) names.
Chrös McDougall has covered the Olympic Movement for TeamUSA.org since 2009, including the gymnastics national championships and Olympic trials since 2011, on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. He is based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.