SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – MyKayla Skinner vividly remembers the moment she learned her Olympic dreams were being put on hold for another year.
“I remember I was on my way to the gym,” Skinner said. “My husband called me and said the Olympics were postponed for another year. I was like, a whole year? I was like, oh my gosh, this changes everything.”
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Tokyo Olympics were postponed until July of 2021.
Skinner took one week to make one of the biggest decisions of her life. She could either continue her intense Olympic training for another year, or she could go back to school, get her degree, maybe compete for the Red Rocks and then be done with gymnastics.
Skinner just could not give up on her Olympic hopes just yet.
“After that week, I was like, I worked too hard for this, she said. “I just need to keep following my dreams and see how this goes.
So Skinner has resumed training for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, but there have been difficulties.
“Being in the gym training by myself, it has been super hard staying motivated,” Skinner said. “I’ve talked to my friends and family, and I’m like, this is so hard. A whole other year. But at the same time, I want to do this. I want to be on that Olympic team. It’s been difficult and sometimes I feel like giving up. But I know that I can’t do that just quite yet.”
Skinner should have been selected for the 2016 Olympics. She has the scores to qualify, but had to settle for being an alternate on the gold medal winning U.S. team.
“Ever since the last Olympics, it was so devastating, and it was so hard being in that alternate position, to still go to Rio and have to train just as hard to never get to compete,” Skinner said. “I remember saying, I was so close to making this team. So, I think I’ve always had that burning fire inside of me.”
As for her Utes career, Skinner, who has won two NCAA individual titles and seven Pac-12 titles, still has one more year of eligibility, which she can defer until 2022. But by then, she’d be 25 years old and may be ready to move on with her life.
“As of right now as things are going, I still want to come back to Utah to finish school,” said Skinner, who recently got married. “And I’m just going to play it by ear, see how my body feels and see how things play out. The gymnastics world just doesn’t want me to stop gymnastics. It keeps delaying my life. It just wants me to be in it. I don’t know, it’s weird. I’m like, man, I can just never escape!”