Person 2 Person: MyKayla Skinner

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Person 2 Person: MyKayla Skinner (Photo credit: University of Utah)

(KUTV) MyKayla Skinner is a talented gymnast for the University of Utah.

Being a Ute means a lot to her.

"Just the way that we train, the way that we approach ourselves--going out there and competing to be a Utah Ute, it's a big deal," she said.

Skinner describes the team as "really close."

"You can tell anybody anything," she said. "We all get along really well and all support each other."

Skinner is known for showing a lot of emotion after her routines. She recalls when she achieved a perfect 10 score last season after a lot of effort.

"Finally that last home meet I got that perfect 10," she said. "I just felt really emotional and super excited that my dreams came true because I had worked so hard for that over the season."

Before coming to the University of Utah, she was an elite gymnast and went to the Summer Games in Rio as an alternate with Team USA.

She had placed in the top five at the Olympic trials, but was still called as an alternate to the team.

"It was hard," she said. "You work so hard, and I put so much effort in and I was like, 'This is my last chance. I've got to go in with all that I can and all that I got.'"

But she was still able to travel and train with the team to be ready in case anyone couldn't compete.

"Being an alternate is such a big honor," she said.

Skinner isn't sure whether she'll try for the next Olympics since being a collegiate athlete is much different than being an elite athlete.

"Coming to college is just different. You're not doing the hard skills any more," she said. "I could still go for the next one--it's been kind of an option, but there's a lot of difficulties involved with it."

In order to train for the Olympics, Skinner would have to defer her senior year of college. But she hasn't ruled it out completely.

In the next summer games, the team would be taking four people as well as two event specialists.

"I'd maybe want to go for floor and vault, because those are my specialties, so you never know," she said.

Skinner has been involved in gymnastics for most of her life, and her family made a lot of sacrifices for her to be an elite athlete.

"My siblings had a hard time because my mom was so dedicated to taking me to practice, traveling around the world for my competitions," she explained. "But my siblings have been just so supportive."

After her elite career, Skinner loves being at the University of Utah.

She had wanted to be part of the team since she was a little girl.

"I used to go to the gymnastics meets and so it was just like, 'Oh my gosh!' I was star struck," she said. "It was just really cool to have my dreams come true and be able to come to this great school that has such an amazing legacy and I hope that we can carry on that legacy."

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