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MyKayla Skinner defers senior season to pursue 2020 Olympics

By Holli Joyce, Contributor | Posted - Jul 31st, 2019 @ 2:13pm

SALT LAKE CITY — University of Utah gymnastics superstar MyKayla Skinner will defer her senior year to pursue a run for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, the team announced Wednesday.

“I see the opportunity to pursue an Olympic berth as a chance of a lifetime,” Skinner said in April when she publicly announced her decision to take part in the National Team Camp this summer.

The two-time NCAA champion intends to return to Utah for the 2020-21 season to finish her competing career and communications degree.

Skinner is one of the school’s most decorated gymnasts. Along with her two NCAA titles, she has eight NCAA regional titles, seven Pac-12 titles and is Utah’s all-time leader in All-American awards (26). Her 28 all-around victories rank second while her 111 individual wins are third. She also holds the NCAA record for consecutive routines without a fall (161).

Skinner recently competed in her first elite competition since trying for the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, where she served as an alternate despite a fourth-place finish at the 2016 Olympic Trials. At the GK U.S. Classic she scored the second-highest score on vault, following Simone Biles, and qualified for the U.S. Gymnastics Championships on August 8-11.

The Red Rocks have continued to show their support for Skinner’s elite gymnastics dreams. Head coach Tom Farden said in April that he’d keep a roster spot open for the “world-class gymnast” if she came back this fall, but the team is “supportive of her desire to test the waters of resuming her international career.”

Skinner will continue to train at her club gym in Arizona. She’s been working at Desert Lights Gymnastics this summer, sharpening her skills to prepare for her elite gymnastics comeback.

Holli Joyce

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