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MyKayla Skinner Is a 'Person Who Never Gave Up,' Her Mom Says About Gymnast Achieving Olympic Dream

·4 min read
MyKayla Skinner Is a 'Person Who Never Gave Up,' Her Mom Says About Gymnast Achieving Olympic Dream

MyKayla Skinner has earned her title as an Olympian.

Though the 24-year-old gymnast's dreams of winning a medal in Tokyo were dashed, she was finally able to compete at an Olympic Games. Skinner, who was selected as an individual and not as a member of the U.S. team — made up of Simone Biles, Sunisa Lee, Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum — did not qualify for any event final after competing on all four apparatuses during Sunday's qualifying round. The Arizona native finished the all-around in 10th place with a total score of 55.398.

Skinner, who is the oldest gymnast of the American women, will not be able to compete for a medal on Thursday when the top 24 gymnasts (with the top cumulative individual scores) advance to the individual all-around final, which has a limit of two athletes per country. In addition to completing her run at the Olympics, Skinner's elite gymnastics career also came to an end.

Regardless of the results in Tokyo, Skinner represented Team USA after years of not making the roster. At the 2012 Olympic trials, she was not selected to compete. Then four years later, for the 2016 Rio Games, she was chosen as an alternate but did have not an official spot on the team.

MyKayla Skinner
MyKayla Skinner

Speaking about the pride and love she has for her daughter, Kym Skinner tells PEOPLE that MyKayla will always be a winner in her eyes after over a decade of hard work and dedication to the sport.

"Watching MyKayla on an Olympic Stage was surreal! She had the meet of her life but fell short of qualifying for finals!" Kym says. "What an amazing career and journey. I never dreamed that she would be an Olympian. Dreams do come true."

RELATED: MyKayla Skinner 'Heartbroken' to End Tokyo Olympics Run After Failing to Qualify as Simone Biles Thanks Her

The proud parent adds, "MyKayla is a light to me and a person who never gave up. As she closes this chapter a new one unfolds with so many amazing opportunities. Time heals!"

In the States, the Skinner family held a watch party for MyKayla with nearly 250 people in attendance. The athlete's sister Chelsea organized and hosted an "awesome" evening as they celebrated MyKayla's Olympic debut. (International spectators were barred from attending the Tokyo Games due to COVID protocols and restrictions.)

"It was incredible watching MyKayla and the team surrounded by our family and so many friends. MyKayla has been a gymnast since she was five years old and has had the support of her community for her elite years which started when she was 11 years old," Kym tells PEOPLE. "I can't begin to tell you the amazing support our family has received from the many friends that have shared in her journey. There are many more friends that wished they could have been there."

RELATED: What Gymnast Jade Carey Told Her Mom After Qualifying for 2 Event Finals in Her Olympic Debut

After not qualifying, Skinner tweeted that she was "heart broken 💔 but feeling sooo humbled and blessed for the amazing performance," adding the hashtag "#NeverGiveUp" in a follow-up tweet.

Also on Sunday, Biles shared a heartfelt message to Skinner, writing: "So proud of this one. No one understands the hard work and dedication it takes to come back from collegiate gymnastics & make an olympic team. You did the damn thing! Thanks for keeping gym light-hearted and fun! I love you Ms Olympian."

RELATED VIDEO: Athletes Reveal Their Pre-Competition Rituals Ahead of the Tokyo Olympics

On Tuesday, Skinner shared another message to fans. "Heartbroken is an understatement, but I am proud of myself for getting here after everything I've been through. I would have loved for my scores to count for the team and I would have loved to compete in event finals but I still did some of my best gymnastics here as an Olympian and that's something no one can take away from me," she wrote.

"The sport of gymnastics hasn't been kind to me over the years but I'm grateful I could be an example to never give up and to chase your dreams no matter what. I am humbled by the experiences I've had and hope I can continue to be a light for others fighting their own battles," Skinner continued. "This is closing the book on my gymnastics career, and my only regrets were things outside my control. So no regrets 😊 For now I will just try to fill the hole in my heart. Your love and support has meant the world to me. Don't be a stranger here or on my YouTube! Lots of fun things coming. Xoxo, MyKayla Skinner, OLY."

To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.

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