We chatted with 2016 Olympic alternate and Utah star MyKayla Skinner after podium training… prior to the announcement she would be the team alternate once again.

Photos by Lloyd Smith and Grace Chiu

How did it feel to be back out there?

Like I always say, it kind of feels like I never stopped doing it. But, just the energy and even having some fans here supporting us kind of made it feel like a real meet. It was just so great to be back out there and help represent Team USA and… just going out there and having fun with it and bringing back the good times. It was really good.

You and Simone are kind of the veterans of the team. Has anyone come to you for advice?

It’s nice helping the younger generation a little bit. We have three sixteen-year-olds so they’re pretty young. Sometimes I kind of feel like I’m [the one] asking because I’m like, ‘I haven’t done this for three years. Oh my gosh, I totally forget!’ It’s kind of nice, me and Simone being the oldest on the team, and giving them advice and just going out there and feeling confident in your routines and just doing what you do in practice. It’s really nice to be able to help them try to be the best they can be so Team USA can go out there and get the job done.

How have you paced yourself between Championships, camp, and here?

It’s a lot of hard work. Especially coming from the collegiate realm of things. It’s been hard. I actually feel like my body is doing pretty well, which I’m surprised. I’m keeping up on the treatments and everything and just trying to go into each workout and stay positive and get the routines done so I’m not doing a ton of extra numbers. I feel like [Coach]Lisa [Spini] has helped a lot on being able to have my body be in good condition to be able to survive through this. She knows my body best, so I feel like I’ve just been taking care of it and working on one little thing at a time. I feel like I’ve worked really well and prepared myself for this. I feel like I kind of know how to get through it and get through those tough days. It’s just been fun overall and seeing where I can take myself.

Did you guys know ahead of time that there was going to be an audience today and how was that?

Yes! Simone had a thing this morning and told us there was going to be fans there. We were like, ‘This is just supposed to be a training.’ I think it kind of helps, especially for Suni being a newbie this year for her first worlds. I think it definitely helps put that pressure on you a little bit so she can really be prepared for prelims and get used to everything. But, it’s kind of fun when you have an audience there, just because I feel like you want to go out there and show them what you can do and really prepare yourself as much as you can going into this World Championships. It is a lot of pressure and the intensity level is there, so I think it definitely helped having all of them there tonight.

How is the triple-double coming along?

It’s actually coming pretty good. Obviously, I didn’t have much time to train because of World selection camp but I love it, it’s fun and it’s kind of fun to bring it back since I did it in 2013. It was fun getting to do it again in the gym and it’s coming along really great, so hopefully I can put it in routines for next season, so I’m really excited about it.


For an in-depth interview with MyKayla, check out our September/October issue at shopinsidenation.com!