Skye Blakely’s Journey to Paris Ends with Heartbreaking Achilles Injury

Skye Blakely’s Journey to Paris Ends with Heartbreaking Achilles Injury

Gina Pongetti and Christy Sandmaier contributing to this developing story:

Following a stellar second place showing at the 2024 Xfinity U.S. Championships, Skye Blakely appeared to be right in line behind Simone Biles, Shilese Jones and Suni Lee for being all but locked on the 2024 Olympic team. Wednesday in Minneapolis, while training a double layout on floor in podium training, Blakely fell, injuring her Achilles (at a distance, it appeared to have given way on the takeoff), and ultimately ending her 2024 Olympic dream.

As USA Gymnastics staff swiftly responded, a clearly distraught Blakely was carried off the floor while covering her face with both hands. It was beyond heartbreaking, considering Blakely, who also withdrew from the 2021 Olympic Trials following an accident on vault, tearing her UCL, had looked phenomenal in training up until that point.

In a statement on Thursday morning, USA Gymnastics wrote, “during podium training on Wednesday, Skye Blakely sustained a right Achilles injury and will be unable to compete in Olympic Trials.”

Returning from any injury creates its own mental and physical challenges and often adds to the already perfection-based system of judged sports. Blakely had battled back stronger than ever–working with a mental health coach following her injury in 2021 allowed her to open up and go through her feelings, not just past them. A scary process for most elite athletes who are used to routine.

“I’d honestly say after I got hurt at Trials (in 2021), it was really hard for me. I feel like I went down for a minute with my mental health and how I feel and how I handle things,” Blakely said at U.S. Championships in Fort Worth. “But after speaking with a mental coach and just working through everything, I started building back up. Just being able to, sometimes just talking it out and processing my feelings, what I’ve been through and what I’m going to go through. I feel like that’s helped my brain to better understand and deal with certain situations that I’ve been through. And that is honestly what helps me the most.” (For more, see The Mental Side of the Mat).

A two-time World Champion with Team USA (2022 and 2023), Blakely has hit stunning routines at domestic competitions the past few seasons, but faced inconsistency on the international stage, especially on beam. At February’s National Team camp, Blakely told us she had put too much pressure on herself previously, trying to do “too much too soon” and maintain peak form for entire season. This year, she said, she was focused on pacing and doing her own gymnastics. It was working.

At the U.S. Championships, not only did she hit all eight of her routines to place second in the All-Around, she also placed third on bars and beam, and debuted her Cheng vault. Heading into Minneapolis, the stars seemed to be aligning. This was supposed to be Blakely’s time. But it was not to be. It’s a tough lesson and at the very least, a very cruel one for any athlete so close to making their Olympic dream a reality.

We wish Skye (and her team of supporters) the best in the coming moments of diagnosis, decision-making, and health.

Inside Gymnastics is on the scene in Minneapolis bringing you all the action! Make sure you’re following our social media pages (TwitterFacebookInstagram & Threads) for news and highlights throughout the week.

For the full Schedule, click here!

TV Broadcasts

Times are ET

  • Thursday, June 27 – Men’s Day 1 – USA Network, Peacock 6:30-9 p.m.
  • Friday, June 28 – Women’s Day 1 – Peacock 7:30-8 p.m.; NBC, Peacock 8-10 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 29 – Men’s Day 2 – NBC, Peacock 3-6 p.m.
  • Sunday, June 30 – Women’s Day 2 – Peacock 8-8:30 p.m.; NBC, Peacock 8:30-11 p.m.

The four-day U.S. Olympic Team Trials will serve as the final U.S. stop on the path to Paris! The 2024 men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics teams for the Olympic Games will be named at the conclusion of the Trials. The event will be one part of Gymnastics City USA 2024, the Trials being held in conjunction with the 2024 USA Gymnastics Championships, featuring rhythmic gymnastics, acrobatic gymnastics, and trampoline & tumbling; the USAG National Congress and Trade Show; and the USA Gymnastics for All National Championships & Gymfest. All U.S. gymnasts going to the Olympics, in all gymnastics disciplines, will be recognized by Sunday, June 30.

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