|— Gymnast —|
|Full name||Lisa Maree Skinner|
17 February 1981 |
Clear Mountain, Queensland
|Discipline||Women's artistic gymnastics|
|Club||Queensland Academy of Sport|
|Former coach(es)||Vladimir Zakharov; Stacey Umeh-Lees|
Lisa Maree Skinner (born 17 February 1981 in Clear Mountain, Queensland, Australia) is an Australian gymnast who competed at the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games. She is notable as the first Australian gymnast ever to qualify for an individual event final at the Olympic Games.
Skinner began gymnastics in 1987 at Lawnton Academy. Between 1995 and 2004, she was a consistent presence on the Australian team, competing at four World Championships, three Olympic Games and many other international meets. She held the Australian National Champion title in 1996 and 1997.
Skinner made her senior international debut at the 1995 World Championships in Sabae, placing 12th with the Australian team. The next year at the 1996 Olympics she helped the Australian squad place 10th in the team finals and she competed and placed 36th in the all-around.
In the following years, Skinner's international performance improved dramatically. She earned two gold medals at the 1998 Commonwealth Games; one with the Australian team, the other as an individual on the uneven bars. At the 1999 World Championships, she placed 19th in the all-around. At the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Skinner was the highest-ranked Australian WAG athlete. At one point in the all-around competition, she was in third place. Although she gave a solid performance on all four events, her vault had a low start value, and therefore did not score high enough to put her on the medal podium. Skinner eventually finished in 8th place - the highest placing ever for an Australian gymnast. In the floor exercise final Skinner had another chance to earn a medal, but ended up in 8th place after a fall. Her appearance was still notable, because it marked the first time ever that an Australian gymnast had qualified to an Olympic event final. Her fall in this event was particularly disappointing, because Skinner was a legitimate medal contender- the score she received for the same routine in the all-around, a 9.75, would have been enough for a bronze in the final.
After Sydney, Skinner retired, but in 2002 she decided to resume training. She returned to competition in 2003, representing Australia at the 2003 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, the 2004 Pacific Alliance Championships, and the 2004 Olympics. At her third Olympics, Skinner was an uneven bars and balance beam specialist.
Following the 2004 Olympics Skinner retired again. She has most recently been working with Cirque du Soleil.
As a gymnast, Skinner was known for her expressive, balletic presentation and clean lines. She was a floor exercise specialist for many years, displaying routines with unique choreography and music. Her 2000 Olympics routine, performed to a Middle Eastern theme, is still a favourite of many gymnastics fans. Skinner also designed several leotards worn by the Australian national team at major competitions.