MyKayla Skinner on Pressures of Being an Olympic Gymnast: "It's Okay to Not Be Perfect" | PEOPLE
- Decorated gymnast and winner of 2020 Tokyo Olympic silver medal in the vault competition
- Featured in several national news outlets and the Peacock documentary Golden: The Journey of USA’s Elite Gymnasts
- Creator of popular YouTube channel with close to 20 million views
- An optimistic presence who inspires audiences to push through adversity and own their moment
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Acclaimed for her indomitable tenacity and daredevil skills, Olympic silver medalist MyKayla Skinner became the oldest U.S. Olympic gymnast since 2004 when she competed in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. With the spotlight on her, she vaulted her way to a silver medal, bringing the trademark resilience and competitive spirit that have earned her a reputation as a powerhouse performer and model teammate to the global stage.
Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, Skinner is a champion on and off the gymnastics floor. Having competed at the highest levels of athletics, she shares with audiences the story of her inspiring — and sometimes unconventional — road to the winners’ podium at the Tokyo Olympics. Her optimism, fire, and flair can be felt throughout the room as she provides an Olympian’s perspective on performing at a championship-level in high-pressure situations, overcoming adversity, and charting your own path to achieving your goals. Skinner possesses the incredible ability to ignite a spark in her audience, and her motivational message on what it takes to push past challenges and reach peak performance when it matters most is one that resonates with groups in every setting.
Following in the footsteps of her two older sisters, Skinner began competing in gymnastics at five years old. A standout athlete in her formative years, she capped off a highly successful junior career by being named to the junior U.S. national team in 2011 and becoming the junior individual all-around champion at that year’s American Classic. She made the transition to the senior team in 2012. After qualifying as an alternate for the 2016 Olympic team, Skinner made the decision to step away from elite gymnastics to compete for the University of Utah, where she became a two-time NCAA champion. In 2019, she left school and announced her intention to return to elite gymnastics and once again pursue her dream of competing in the Olympics, mounting a comeback for the ages. The road back was anything but easy. A year-long extension of training, COVID-induced pneumonia, a bone spur in one heel, and tendonitis put her motto of “Never give up” to the test, but she overcame every obstacle in front of her to make it to the Tokyo Olympics.
At the Tokyo preliminaries, Skinner placed fourth on vault and eleventh in the all-around, but did not qualify to compete in the finals due to the two-per-country limitation. She publicly retired from gymnastics the next day, but, following Simone Biles’ unexpected withdrawal from the vault competition, got a second chance to shine and won the silver medal.
In addition to her Olympic and NCAA medals, Skinner has medaled in several high-profile competitions, including the U.S. National Championships and World Championships, is the NCAA record holder for consecutive routines without a fall (161), and the University of Utah’s record holder for most All-America awards. She has been featured in major outlets including NBC, The New York Times, and People, as well as the Peacock documentary Golden: The Journey of USA’s Elite Gymnasts.
Skinner and her husband live in Utah where they are completing their undergraduate degrees and developing their popular YouTube channel, which has close to 20 million views
Own Your Moment: Performing Under Pressure to Achieve Your Goals. Having just missed out on the opportunity to compete in both the vault and all-around finals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, MyKayla Skinner said farewell to gymnastics and was preparing to fly home when she got the call that changed everything. Simon Biles unexpectedly withdrew from the vault competition and Skinner was chosen to compete in her place. With the spotlight now on her and the whole world watching, she rose to the occasion and won the Olympic medal she had been working toward her entire life.
Like her experience at the Tokyo games, this talk is a rollercoaster of emotions as Skinner takes the audience along for the ride — beginning as a talented junior gymnast and culminating as a champion at the highest level. Full of charisma when speaking and possessing a natural ability to motivate audiences to action, she reveals her approach to becoming an elite-level performer when the pressure is at its peak and all eyes are on you. The steps she shares for developing a champion’s mindset and owning your moment can be applied by individuals and teams working toward their goals, no matter how big or small they may seem.
Never Give Up: Turning “I Can’t” Into “I Can.” Olympic gymnast MyKayla Skinner can say with confidence that nothing ever stopped her from achieving her Olympic-sized dreams. Not injuries, not COVID-19, and not missing out on the opportunity to compete in the finals. Through it all, she found a way to overcome the odds and has the silver medal to show for it from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Relatable, vulnerable and with a willingness to open up about the setbacks she faced, she shares the power of never giving up and how turning “I can’t” into “I can” is the starting point for pushing past everything that stands in between you and accomplishing what you set out to achieve.
How to Become a Social Media Superstar. A champion on the gymnastics floor and in the world of social media, Olympic silver medalist MyKayla Skinner has established herself as a content creator who sees beyond the “likes” and shows a special ability to engage her following and form online communities. With 20 million views on her YouTube channel, 500 thousand followers on Instagram, and 50 thousand followers on Twitter, Skinner has built her social channels from the ground up and, in this talk, shares the latest social media trends while providing organizations with actionable insights for building their followings, creating content that captures their audiences’ attention, and leveraging their social channels to support their business goals.
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