Gymnast MyKayla Skinner aiming for Olympic berth after COVID recovery

After recovering from a fight with COVID-19 and a visit to the hospital, Turner MyKayla Skinner wants to make up for lost time to secure a spot on the US Olympic team this summer.

Almost six weeks after her initial diagnosis and a week after landing in hospital with pneumonia, Skinner can finally get back to practice on Wednesday.

As a deputy for the 2016 Olympic team, Skinner won the 2018 NCAA title in the vault of the University of Utah but left school to train for the 2020 Tokyo Games. After the pandemic postponed the schedule by a year, Skinner learned firsthand about the effects of the virus.

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MyKayla Skinner participates in floor exercises during the 2019 U.S. Gymnastics Championships senior competition in Kansas City, Missouri.

“For two weeks I felt like I couldn’t move from the couch” Skinner told Salt Lake City’s KSL TV. “I was sick, tired and exhausted. It was so strange that my body felt so weak and there was nothing I could do about it. It’s been six weeks. And I think my body needs at least two more to develop its full potential. “

At least the break from training meant that an Achilles injury she sustained in the fall is healed. But the clock is ticking.

“There should be some international competitions in the next few months that I hope I can do,” said the 24-year-old Skinner. “But it’s all just a mess. Things are in the air. So we’ll see if that comes together.”

The next major milestone is the US Gymnastics Championships, which will take place June 4-7 in Fort Worth, Texas. There, the judges name the national team that will be used to determine who will take part in the Olympic Trials on June 25 and 28 in St. Louis.

Less than a month after the Olympic team was named, the Tokyo Summer Games begin.

If Skinner is able to form the U.S. squad, it will be an even greater feat after what may be the toughest opponent, the coronavirus.

“It can definitely affect young people,” she said. “It’s strange to think that you can be such a healthy and strong athlete and it can still hurt you that bad.”


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