Why Grace McCallum made the 4-woman U.S. Olympic gymnastics team and MyKayla Skinner didn’t
USA Gymnastics released the official summary of the selection committee’s meeting held after the Olympic trials that determined which gymnasts made the U.S. team
Grace McCallum and MyKayla Skinner are going to represent the United States at the 2021 Olympic Games. Why they are going in the roles that they are — McCallum is a member of the four-woman U.S. team that are gold medal favorites, while Skinner will compete as an individual — hadn’t officially been laid out before Tuesday, though, aside from a few statements by U.S. head coach Tom Forster.
Per the report, and as previously stated by Forster, the fourth and final spot on the four-person team came down to McCallum and Skinner, who finished fourth and fifth at trials, respectively, behind Simone Biles, Sunisa Lee and Jordan Chiles.
According to USA Gymnastics, McCallum was selected to the four-person team because of a belief that she could contribute to the team scores on two events, while Skinner was believed to only be able to contribute on one event.
Additionally, McCallum’s previous international experience — she was a member of the gold medal-winning U.S. team at both the 2018 and 2019 World Championships — worked in her favor.
“Grace demonstrated consistency and resilience across both days of competition at the Olympic Trials, hitting all eight routines,” the report reads. “In addition, her past international experience and success as a member of the 2018 and 2019 World Championship gold-medal teams contributed to the committee’s final decision.”
Skinner was actually a part of the four-person team with the highest scoring potential, but it was believed by the three-member selection committee that Skinner was a better bet to medal as an individual due to her prowess on vault.
“The Committee determined that MyKayla Skinner was the athlete with the greatest medal potential based on her vault performances scoring 15.000 or higher consistently, coupled with her fifth place all-around ranking in the final results from Olympic Trials,” the report reads. “In addition, MyKayla’s international competitiveness and experience, along with her high vault D-scores, compared to the top competitors from other countries, helped the committee determine that she would be selected to the individual +1 NOC quota place to Tokyo.”
The committee, which was comprised of IEC representative Tatiana Perskaia, Forster and athlete representative Jessie DeZiel, met throughout the week — three times in total — prior to the official selection meeting and discussed data from the gymnasts’ previous competitions.
The criteria for Olympic team selection included:
- Final all-around results from both days of competition (Olympic trials) combined.
- Final individual event results from both days of competition combined (first vault scores only).
- Day 1 plus Day 2 unweighted 4-3 team score scenarios.
- Best score 4-3 team score scenarios.
- Two vault average results from both days of competition combined.
- Day 1 plus Day 2 difficulty score report.