SALT LAKE CITY — University of Utah gymnastics junior MyKayla Skinner will leave the program to make a run for the 2020 Olympics, she announced Thursday.
“I love competing for the University of Utah and am so grateful to my coaches, teammates and the 15,000 fans who come and support us every (home) meet,” Skinner said in a statement. “In my three years at Utah, I have grown and matured as a gymnast, made improvements to my form and refined my technique. While I love college gymnastics, I’d like to try and compete for my country.
"I see the opportunity to pursue an Olympic berth as a chance of a lifetime. If things don’t work out for whatever the reason, I plan to return to the University of Utah for my senior year.”
Skinner was invited to participate in the National Team Camp in June where she will pursue a spot as one of five women to represent the United States in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Despite a fourth-place finish at the 2016 Olympic Trials, Skinner was passed for the five-woman team and selected as an alternate.
“MyKayla is a world-class gymnast and we are supportive of her desire to test the waters of resuming her international career,” Utah head coach Tom Farden said in a statement. “She has the opportunity to participate in National Team Camp and qualify to the American Classic and beyond.
Farden added that the team is "keeping a roster spot open" for Skinner should she come back this fall. "Obviously, we would love to have her back for her senior season."
Skinner is a two-time NCAA champion, and was the vault champion in 2018 and floor champion in 2017. She was the all-around runner-up both of those years. She performed the most difficult floor and vault routines in collegiate gymnastics and holds the NCAA record for routines performed without a fall (161).