If there's one good thing about the postponement of Tokyo 2020, it's that athletes have more time to prepare for the Olympics now. For many gymnasts, that means playing around with adding difficulty into their routines (the higher the risk, the higher the reward in most cases). Simone Biles, for example, posted a video of a new triple-double dismount off of beam last week.
Biles's fellow national team member MyKayla Skinner, who was also the alternate at 2019 Worlds and at the 2016 Rio Olympics, has her eyes set on the Games next summer and has been testing out upgrades of her own. There's an impressive triple-double off of bars, for one, but I really want you to focus on the video above, which showcases an impressive combination on beam.
Let me start out by saying that connecting any skill on a four-inch beam is hard — I know because I dreaded competing on this event during my decade-plus time as a gymnast. The rules state that by putting together certain skills, you get additional points, but if you don't connect those skills, then you lose those bonus points. Skinner here does four skills: a back handspring step-out with a full twist, a tuck jump with a half twist, another back handspring step-out, then a backflip with a full twist (or what you'd call a "tuck full"). In other words, it's a lot of turns, flips, and twists strung together on a piece of equipment that is not very wide and requires a lot of balance.
"First time putting it together! Not perfect yet but I finally did it," Skinner wrote on Instagram. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty darn impressed. Whether or not Skinner will keep this combination in her beam routine for good is still unknown — she'd have to remove the mats that she placed over and under the beam in this video and would need to be able to do the full combo along with the rest of her skills. But she definitely has time to perfect it and see what finalized routine she wants to bring to the world stage next year when she fights for a spot on the Olympic team.