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Olympian MyKayla Skinner Says Comments About 2024 Gymnasts’ Work Ethic Were ‘Misinterpreted’

Olympian MyKayla Skinner Says Comments About 2024 Gymnasts Work Ethic Were Misinterpreted
MyKayla Skinner Maja Hitij/Getty Images

Olympian MyKayla Skinner made waves in the gymnastics community when she criticized the Paris hopefuls during the Olympic Trials.

“Besides Simone, I feel like the talent and the depth just isn’t what it used to be. I mean, obviously, a lot of girls don’t work as hard. The girls just don’t have the work ethic,” Skinner, 27, said in a YouTube video late last month, adding that she could have likely made the team if she competed. “A lot of girls don’t work as hard. It’s hard too because of SafeSport. Coaches can’t get on athletes which in some ways is really good but at the same time, to get to where you need to be in gymnastics you do have to be … a little aggressive, a little intense.”

Per their website, the U.S. Center for SafeSport is an independent organization designed to prevent and respond “to sexual, physical, and emotional abuse” in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic movement. It is not known if SafeSport is currently investigating any misconduct surrounding the current women’s Olympic gymnastics team: Simone Biles, Suni Lee, Jade Carey, Jordan Chiles and Hezly Rivera.

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Several Team USA gymnasts — who will compete at the Paris Olympics later this month — and their families have denied Skinner’s accusations about their training regimen.

“Whoa. She really said that out loud and posted it. That’s something,” Chiles’ mother, Gina, wrote via X on Wednesday, July 3.

That same day, Biles subtly noted via Threads that “not everyone needs a mic and a platform.”

Skinner has since apologized for her actions, claiming her remarks were “misinterpreted” and “misunderstood.”

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“A lot of the stuff I was talking about wasn’t always necessarily about the current team because I love and support all the girls that made it and I’m so proud of them,” Skinner said via Instagram Story earlier this week. “It was more about going back into my own gym and the work ethic is different compared to when we were doing gymnastics in the Marta [Karolyi] era.”

Karolyi was the former national team coordinator for USA Gymnastics. During her tenure, athletes were allegedly required to follow her strict rules without asking questions or voicing objections according to a 2018 éxposé from the Associated Press.

“I’m not sticking up for Marta or saying what she did was good,” Skinner said in her July apology. “I’m just saying it was different. So sorry for anything that got out of context or seemed hurtful; I love those girls and I’m seriously so happy for them so I would never do anything to make them feel otherwise.”

Disgraced team doctor Larry Nassar served as USA Gymnastics team doctor for the majority of Karolyi’s time as coordinator. Many gymnasts including Biles, 27, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney alleged that Nassar, 60, sexually abused them during training. He was charged with 22 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with minors, in December 2016. He was found guilty of seven counts in 2018 and sentenced to a minimum of 40 years in prison. Karolyi has denied any knowledge of Nassar’s misconduct.

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