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Mykayla Skinner dreamed of going to the Olympics already in 2012 but was not quite there yet in terms of her gymnastics and was not able to compete at the Olympic Trials. In 2016, she finished 4th at the Olympic Trials and was selected as one of the three alternates for the US Olympic team. However, since gymnastics alternates are Olympians in name only and do not get to experience things like walking in the Opening ceremony or staying in the Olympic Village, the experience likely was somewhat anticlimactic.

Skinner then became a standout gymnast at the University of Utah but the unfinished business with the Olympics must have stayed in the back of her mind. Yesterday, she has announced that she is taking a break from competing collegiately and trying to compete at the elite level again. For now, she is still enrolled in classes and has an option to go back to school in the fall if she realizes over the summer that things aren’t working out. If she decides to pursue Olympic qualification, she can still come back to Utah in 2020 for her senior season.

Skinner plans on attending her first national team camp in June and competing at the national competitions on two events this summer. She hopes to have routines ready on bars and beam by the time of the selection for the World Championships.

Skinner’s chances for making the Olympic team are not quite solid, since her strengths are floor and vault and these are the two events that US doesn’t really need help on right now. Jade Carey is another floor/vault specialist who is already very close to qualifying a nominative spot for herself via World Cups and, if she does, US team is not likely to need another gymnast with the same strengths. However, if Skinner wins one of her events at the US championships this year or wins an individual medal at Worlds, she will be eligible to try qualifying via World Cups as well and there are still four more left. In any case, in gymnastics, the future is rarely predictable, so we might see Mykayla Skinner in Tokyo next year.

Photo: Utah Athletics


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It’s going to be really hard to make it to Tokyo for her, but I’m still excited to see what she can do! As you said, Luba, the future is hard to predict in this sport. Wishing her the best!