Latter-day Saints in the Olympics, day 8: Gymnast MyKayla Skinner to compete in vault final, plus swimming, track and rugby

USA gymnast MyKayla Skinner is now on the schedule to compete in the vault final this weekend after teammate Simone Biles withdrew from both the event finals for the vault and uneven bars, according USA Gymnastics’ announcement. 

Biles withdrew from the team final after doing a vault on the first rotation and citing struggles with her mental health. She also withdrew from the all-around final. She had qualified for all four of the apparatus finals. Biles will continue to be “evaluated daily to determine whether to compete in the finals for floor exercise and balance beam,” stated USA Gymnastics on Friday, July 30.  

The top eight advance in each of the apparatus finals with a limit of two per country. Skinner was fourth, behind Biles, who was first, and Jade Carey, who was second. Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade was in third. Her coach said that they had planned to leave Japan as Skinner’s Olympic competitions had ended, but they were asked to stay and Skinner continued training.  

Skinner, 24, an Arizona native who competed for the University of Utah, wrote on social media about the announcement. “Looks like I get to put a competition Leo on just one more time. Can’t wait to compete in the vault finals. Doing this for us @simonebiles  It’s go time baby!”

Carey replaced Biles in the all-around competition. 

The vault final is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 1.  

Athletes connected to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints competed in swimming, track and rugby sevens on Saturday. Here’s an update on how they did.  

Swimming  

Rhyan White, of United States, embraces teammate Phoebe Bacon after the women's 200-meter backstroke final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.
Rhyan White, of United States, embraces teammate Phoebe Bacon after the women’s 200-meter backstroke final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. Credit: David Goldman, Associated Press

Team USA’s Rhyan Elizabeth White swam in the 200-meter backstroke finals Saturday, July 31, and was fourth, just out of the medals, with a time of 2:06.39. Australia’s Kaylle McKeown was first with 2:04.68, silver went to Canada’s Kylie Masse with a time of 2:05.42 and bronze went to Emily Seebohm of Australia, with a time of 2:06.17. Team USA’s Phoebe Bacon was fifth with 2:06.40.

White, 21, a Utah native swimming at the University of Alabama, also competed in the 100-meter backstroke in Tokyo, which are her first Olympic Games.

Track  

Peter Bol, of Australia, comes in second after Ferguson Rotich, of Kenya, during a heat in the men's 800-meter run at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Tokyo.
Peter Bol, of Australia, comes in second after Ferguson Rotich, of Kenya, during a heat in the men’s 800-meter run at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Tokyo. Credit: Charlie Riedel, Associated Press

At Olympic Stadium, Australia’s Peter Bol qualified to race in the 800-meter semifinals. He was second in his qualifying heat with a time of 1:44.13. There were four heats and the first three in each heat plus the next six fasted moving on to the semifinals. The semifinals are on Sunday, Aug. 1.  

The 27-year-old also competed in the 2016 Olympics in Rio and was the Australian champion in 2019.  

 Rugby sevens  

Jordan Matyas of the United States, center, runs with the ball, pursued by China's Ruan Hongting, in their women's rugby sevens 5-8 placing match at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 31, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.
Jordan Matyas of the United States, center, runs with the ball, pursued by China’s Ruan Hongting, in their women’s rugby sevens 5-8 placing match at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 31, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Credit: Shuji Kajiyama, Associated Press

At Tokyo Stadium, Team USA was sixth overall at the end of the tournament Saturday, July 31. Jordan Matyas, 28, a forward on Team USA, played for Brigham Young University before playing rugby professionally.  

Team USA was undefeated in the preliminary pool round but lost to Great Britain in the quarterfinal knockout round. They were in a bracket for places 5-8. 

They won 33-14  against China, and lost 17-7 to Australia. Team USA beat both in the preliminary pool play.  

Read more of Church News’ coverage of athletes connected to the Church competing in the Olympics

Competing this weekend 

In addition to the 800-meter track semifinals for Bol, and the vault finals for Skinner, the final Pool B volleyball match for Team USA, including Taylor Sander, is against Argentina, and the shot put finals for New Zealand’s Valerie Adams are on Sunday.   

On social  

Semi Radradra, who is on Fiji’s gold medal rugby sevens team, shared how he’s speechless about being a gold medalist.  

Adams shared a photo from the qualification round and the caption included “let’s go.” She has two gold medals in shot put and is the reigning silver medalist.  

Team USA weightlifter Sarah Robles shared the Monday, Aug. 2, competition times for her lifts. She was the bronze medalist in 2016 in Rio.

USA’s Jake Gibb and teammate Tri Bourne move on to the round-of-16 matches in beach volleyball. Their next match is Monday, Aug. 2, against a duo from Germany.