Gymnast MyKayla Skinner Says COVID Battle Has Set Back Olympics Training: 'I Was Sick and Exhausted'

Gymnast MyKayla Skinner is opening up about her experience with COVID-19, sharing that her bout with the virus has affected her plans to make the U.S. Olympic team this summer.

After testing positive for the coronavirus on Dec. 12, the Utah athlete — who was an alternate for the 2016 Olympic women's gymnastics team — was forced to pause her training for the upcoming Olympic trials.

Nearly six weeks later, the athlete told Salt Lake City outlet KSL Sports that she thinks her body still needs additional time to recover.

"For two weeks I felt like I couldn't move off the couch," the athlete, 24, explained. "I was sick, tired and exhausted. It was so weird having my body feel 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 get to full strength."

Skinner's first attempt to return to the gym came after Christmas.

"I took my temperature, upon arriving, and my coach said, 'That doesn't look good.' I was having some trouble breathing," she recalled.

The Olympic hopeful was then diagnosed with pneumonia and hospitalized for a week.

"It can definitely affect young people," she said of the virus to KSL Sports. "It's weird thinking you can be such a healthy and strong athlete, and it can still hit you so bad."

On Jan. 16, Skinner received an all-clear from her doctors to return to practice on Wednesday.

"There's supposed to be some international competitions in the next couple of months that I can hopefully do. But it's all just a mess; things are up in the air," she said. "So we will see if that comes together."

During her time off, Skinner said the "silver lining" was being able to rest from an Achilles injury she suffered last fall.

"This resting period has given my foot a chance to heal. It's time to move forward," she told the outlet.

According to USA Today, the national team will be named at the 2021 U.S. Gymnastics National Championships, which are scheduled to begin June 4 in Fort Worth, Texas. From there, the national team will head to the Olympic trials at the end of June.

The Tokyo Olympics, which were delayed from 2020 to 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, are now projected to take place July 23 through August 8, 2021.

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