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Deena Lofgren, Utah Athletics
Utah’s MyKayla Skinner competes on floor during the NCAA gymnastics semifinals in Fort Worth, Texas, on Friday, April 19, 2019.
SALT LAKE CITY — MyKayla Skinner’s quest to earn a spot on the U.S. women’s gymnastics team for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games will begin in earnest this weekend.
The gymnast, one of the NCAA’s best during her three seasons at the University of Utah, will compete at the GK U.S. Classic — held in Louisville, Kentucky — Saturday night (5 p.m. MDT).
The U.S. Classic is the final qualifying event for the 2019 USA Gymnastics National Championships, which will be held from Aug. 8-11 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Skinner is slated to compete in the senior session, alongside 21 other senior elite level competitors, including 2016 Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles, 2018 World Championship team members Kara Eaker, Morgan Hurd and Riley McCusker, and 2019 World Cup gold-medalist Jade Carey.
Additionally, a pair of Red Rocks commits will also compete: Grace McCallum, who was a member of the 2018 World Championship team, and Jaylene Gilstrap.
Skinner has qualified on all four events — she debuted her revamped routines on all four apparatus in some form or another at national team camp in June — and will open the Classic on vault, followed by uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise.
The meet will be broadcast on the Olympic Channel and live streamed at OlympicChannel.com. It will also be available on the Olympic Channel app and the NBCSports app.
Since almost the moment she declared her intention to postpone her collegiate gymnastics career at Utah, Skinner has trained to diligently to reacquire the elite level skills that made her arguably one of the best gymnasts in the world four years ago as an alternate on the 2016 U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team.
The training has been difficult, which she recently conveyed on the “The Routine Podcast: Gymnastics Conversations.”
“I’d only been home for four days (when I started training),” she told the daughter-mother duo that host the collegiate gymnastics-focused podcast, “but I wanted to go all in and do the best I could. It was, it is kind of scary, because I’m just not used to it anymore. I’m working really hard and I’m hoping that things have kind of calmed down. It is getting a little bit better each day.”
Skinner went on to talk about the role her career at Utah has played in her gymnastics, noting that her time up on the hill ultimately made her a better all-around gymnast.
“Going to college I’ve been able to clean up my form, and I’ve really matured a lot,” she said. “I feel like I am stronger than ever and I think I know how to put all the pieces together.”