MyKayla Skinner’s competitive gymnastics career might be over, but she isn’t done with the Olympics just yet.
In an interview that aired Monday morning on NBC News’ “Today,” the former University of Utah star sat down with broadcasters Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb and discussed her Olympic experience, which ended in the qualification round Sunday, despite having one of the best meets of her career.
Emotions were high for Skinner in the aftermath of that competition, but she was more settled and reflective when talking with Guthrie and Kotb.
“I feel like this morning it really hit me,” Skinner said. “I can’t believe I competed. I am so, so glad that I had the meet of my life and gave it my all.”
Pressed about what it meant to her to make it to the Olympics, a goal she has had for over a decade now, Skinner noted, “Obviously to have made an individual event (final) would have been icing on the cake. That is something I would have loved to do, but even just to be there and compete after all these years and everything I’ve been through, all the trials, to persevere and get to where I am has been incredible. I am so grateful I am an Olympian. No one can take that away from me.”
Later Monday, Skinner shared her thoughts in an Instagram post, writing, “Heartbroken is an understatement, but I am proud of myself for getting here after everything I’ve been through. I would have loved for my scores to count for the team and I would have loved to compete in event finals, but I still did some of my best gymnastics here as an Olympian and that’s something no one can take away from me.
“The sport of gymnastics hasn’t been kind to me over the years but I’m grateful I could be an example to never give up and to chase your dreams no matter what. I am humbled by the experiences I’ve had and hope I can continue to be a light for others fighting their own battles. This is closing the book on my gymnastics career, and my only regrets were things outside my control. So no regrets. For now I will just try to fill the hole in my heart. Your love and support has meant the world to me.”
Skinner will remain in Tokyo long enough to cheer on Team USA in the team final, which is slated to begin at 4:45 MDT Tuesday. This fall, she will take part in the Gold Over America Tour, which will visit 35 cities.
After that, Skinner will transition to a life without gymnastics, and she and her husband Jonas Harmer will return to Utah, where they recently purchased a home, and she will look to finish her undergraduate degree.