Someone to know - Skinner Sky HigH
words | Celestial Williams
At the age of 5 MyKayla Brooke “Myk” Skinner, began her gymnastics career. By the age of 11, she was inspired by an elite gymnast that started training at her gym. As she watched, her path became clearer. She too wanted to train as an elite level gymnast. Fast forward eight years, and she’s 19 years old, training at Desert Lights Gymnastics for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Myk is very close to her mom Kym and her dad Cris. She also has three older siblings, Jeremy, Chelsea, and Katie. Family is very important to her. Her home is warm and inviting. There’s a sense of peace there. She’s just a little thing all of 5 feet tall, zero inches, but don’t let that fool you, she’s all strength. The more you talk to her, the more you realize that her strength isn’t just physical.
Starting in 2012, Myk began her career as an elite gymnast on the US Senior National Team. After two years of fierce competition, she began to make a name for herself. Myk was awarded the gold medal in the team competition at the 2014 World Championships in Nanning, China. She also came home with a bronze medal in vault. “The awards that I’m most proud of are my medals from World’s in 2014,” she told us proudly.
n 2015 and earlier this year, Myk continued to demonstrate her drive, by adding 11 top three medals to her already impressive collection, including a silver medal at the Olympic Trials in vault.
The women’s gymnastics Olympic Trials were held in San Jose, California in July. Myk fought hard during the trials, improving her scores from just two weeks prior at the P&G Championships.
Myk ended the trials 4th overall. Unfortunately, the Olympic Committee did not place her on the five-woman USA team but placed her as an alternate. With Myk's impressive record and 4th place finish at trials, why did others make the team, even after falling, and placing 7th and 8th overall? The committee may have legitimate reasoning above and beyond athlete's endorsement deals and politics, but many are puzzled. Young elite gymnasts are questioning whether it's even worth training so hard if the system in women's gymnastics appears so unfair.
The bottom line, MyKayla is not done, she's going to Rio. Her sister has always been her lucky charm, but she’ll be unable to go to Rio, so Myk is bringing along a bracelet, given to her by her coach, Mike. It’s a four leaf clover. Fitting, but we have a feeling she won’t need luck. She’s ready. She’s been ready.
We wanted to get to know Myk, not just MyKayla Skinner, but Myk.
How do you stay focused when you're on the beam and everyone is calling your name?
Funny you ask that! When I was at Championships, I was on beam and someone startled me. At that moment, I had to say to myself, "You got this!" At the Olympic Trials, I went through my routine so many times in my mind to prepare, that I really didn't even notice the noise. I just keep my mind focused and told myself to push through.
Do you have a particular song that motivates you?
Yes! The Climb by Miley Cyrus.
After a significant competition, how do you relax and reward yourself?
I’ll usually go out to dinner and have pizza and ice cream!
What’s your favorite song right now?
I love country music so it would have to be anything from Carrie Underwood. I went to her concert not that long ago, and I just love her. I love the way she lives her life. She’s so positive, happy and fun. She’s an amazing example.”
If you could go back and talk to your 14-year-old self, what would you say?
I’m so proud of you for pushing through those hard times, just look at how much you’ve accomplished! I’m so proud of you for finishing high school! (Most elite gymnasts don’t finish.)
What were you feeling when you did that little dance after you finished the floor exercise at the Olympic Trials?
I always do these little dances at practice. (As she giggles). The girls love to laugh about it. I was last up on floor, and they said if you nail it, then you have to do one of your little dances. (As she giggles again).
You have a lot of young fans out there with dreams of being an Olympian one day. What advice would you give them?
Being a gymnast isn’t easy. You’ll have hard days, but keep going. Keep a positive attitude no matter what, and NEVER give up.
Do you have any favorite quotes?
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13.
There are so many people out there who will tell you that you can’t, and what you’ve got to do is turn it around and say watch me!!