As gymnasts visit Utah Capitol, Cox calls Olympics ‘one of the only things’ uniting us
Olympic medalists MyKayla Skinner, Grace McCallum and Amelie Morgan honored by governor and Legislature
Gov. Spencer Cox honored five athletes with Utah ties who competed last year in the 2020 Tokyo Games. Gymnasts MyKayla Skinner, Grace McCallum, Kara Eaker and Amelie Morgan, and swimmer Rhyan White met briefly with Cox before being recognized by the Utah Legislature on Wednesday.
“We love how athletic you are. We love how hard you trained. But we love the way that you represented the state of Utah,” Cox said. “I know it’s not home for all of you, but you spent time here, and whether it’s the U.S. you represented, or the U.K., it was really special to see that camaraderie in the way you carried yourselves. The world needs that right now more than ever before.”
Cox presented each of the athletes with a certificate of recognition, as well as a commemorative coin. He thanked them for making “us all feel better about life and about each other,” and spoke of the unifying power of the Olympics.
“As we enter another Olympics coming up, we know there’s so much division, so much toxic discourse, and the Olympics seems like one of the only things we have left that really pulled all of us together — regardless of what country you’re from,” he said.
Rep. Jon Hawkins, R-Pleasant Grove, introduced the four gymnasts — all current or former members of the University of Utah Red Rocks gymnastics team — on the House floor, saying he was “honored” to recognize their “phenomenal accomplishments.”
Skinner won a silver medal in the individual vault at the Tokyo Games after replacing teammate Simone Biles in the finals. Skinner made the Olympic team after being hospitalized with COVID-19 earlier in the year, and initially failed to qualify for the vault finals.
“Coincidentally, MyKayla and I were hospitalized at the same time with COVID,” Hawkins said, congratulating Skinner on her silver medal. “Her recovery is much better than my recovery, but we’re both still here.”
“MyKayla was given a second chance in the Olympics and it’s truly impressive what she did with that second chance to win a silver medal,” said Sen. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork, who introduced the gymnasts on the Senate floor.
Grace McCallum, Kara Eaker and Amelie Morgan are all freshmen with the Red Rocks this season. McCallum won a team silver medal for the U.S. in Tokyo and Morgan won a team bronze while representing the U.K.
Rhyan White became the first Utah-born swimmer to compete in the Olympics — winning a silver medal for the 4x100-meter medley in Tokyo. She is a senior on the University of Alabama’s swimming and diving team.
Rep. Candace Pierucci, R-Herriman, recognized White on the House floor, commending her as “an incredibly impressive swimmer.”
“I had a chance to speak with (White) beforehand,” Pierucci said. “She’s been swimming since she was 5 and she is still training. She actually took a red-eye out last night and she’s taking a red-eye back tonight. ... We’re so grateful for her, and not only her determination and her tenacity, but representing Utah so well.”
The 2022 Winter Games in Beijing will commence on Friday, Feb. 4.