TOKYO 2020

Red Rock Coach Shares Thoughts On Three Utah Gymnasts Making US Olympic Team

Jul 25, 2021, 10:48 PM | Updated: 10:59 pm
MyKayla Skinner during Women's Qualification on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake G...
MyKayla Skinner during Women's Qualification on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on July 25, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

TOKYO  The eyes of the world are focused on the Team USA Gymnasts. And for the first time in history, three members of the team have ties to one school The University of Utah.

MyKayla Skinner, Grace McCallum and Kara Eaker are all representing Team USA and the University of Utah in Tokyo.

While this hasn’t been the journey two of these athletes had hoped for, it’s still a gymnast’s dream to make it to the Olympics.

KSL-TV’s Shara Park sat down with Red Rock Coach Tom Farden to get his take on this historic moment.

“Has it sunk in yet that you have three athletes, you’ve either coached or will coach, basically half of the Olympic team?” Park asked Farden.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet, and we’re just so proud of all of them,” replied Farden. “They’ve worked so hard for a lifetime. They, as young athletes, set this goal to be an Olympian. And then for them to persevere, and stay focused, and work so diligently and tremendously hard at this craft for them to actually happen. And we’re just over the moon for them. So excited for each of them.”

Park then asked what this does for his program. 

“It shows, you know, the U.S. athletes and athletes across the world who are looking at NCAA options that Utah’s a place for the highest of high levels,” said Farden.

Skinner took the floor as the senior most member of Team USA.

Her age just another tool in her Olympic belt.

“Tell me about MyKayla. What is she like? Tell me the type of athlete she is?” asked Park.

“Natural born fighter. I mean, it’s just the way she was so competitive in her career and continues to be, and she just won’t quit,” said Farden.

It’s been a long road to Tokyo for Skinner, and unfortunately, her journey has come to an end.

A two-time NCAA champion and Team USA alternate in Rio, Skinner took a year off of NCAA competition to focus on her Olympic dream.

During that time, she was hospitalized with COVID-19, the Games were delayed, and she dealt with a bone spur in her ankle.

She now plans to retire after the Tokyo Olympics.

“The elite level gymnastics is so tough and so arduous and so tenuous, on not only their bodies, but their minds and their emotions and everything else,” said Farden. “And so, there is a limited time for people to excel at this level, with the exception of a couple of people. But MyKayla’s heart really shines through.”

The future of the Red Rocks now shifts to two freshman Grace McCallum and Kara Eaker.

Eaker, an alternate on Team USA, tested positive for COVID-19 in Tokyo.

Unfortunately, she is no longer eligible to step in if needed at the Games.

“(Eaker) is somebody who does fierce gymnastics when she’s on fire and she wants something. You know, she’s somebody who I watch and I step back and I go, ‘Hmm,'” said Farden.

Farden said each Red Rock brings something special to Team USA.

For McCallum, she’s an all-around threat.

“Grace is one of those athletes that’s very dependable, very consistent, can be a threat and at any event at any given time. And then really, if you watch her trajectory, from April until now, she’s only gotten better. So really exciting to see her kind of hit her stride and peek at the Olympics,” said Farden.

“What advice would you give her?” Park asked Farden.

“You know, for Grace, it’s simple you have a lot of choices here in Tokyo, Grace. The one choice that you have to choose is trust. Trust your trade. Choose trust and trust your training. Trust your coaches and trust all the experiences you’ve already been through as a world class athlete, and go out there and do your thing,” replied Farden.

Trust is key in gymnastics.

Coach Farden showed us just how much trust is needed for these young women to do what they do.

“The business card and balance beam are almost the same width,” said Farden.

“Oh my gosh, I mean this is precision here,” Park replied.

“I think vault’s the most technical event,” Farden said.

Farden believes his Red Rocks will bring success to Team USA in Tokyo and wishes he could be there to see it.

He said he couldn’t be more proud.

How hard is it going to be not being able to be there and to watch them and be watching from home?

“Yeah, it’s gonna be hard, but I’ll be able to settle in and watch the Olympics like everybody else and and cheer from my living room,” he replied. “We’re just over the moon for them. So excited for each of them.”

Shara Park also talked with Coach Farden about Simone Biles and what an incredible athlete she is.

His thoughts will be shared Monday morning on KSL Today.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Tokyo 2020

(KSL TV)...
Alex Cabrero, KSL TV

Former BYU student becomes volunteer for Tokyo Olympics, Paralympics

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games couldn't happen without the help of volunteers. T. Christopher Okano, who attended BYU in Utah, is a volunteer for both Games, and he can't believe how lucky he is. 
12 months ago
The KSL Olympic crew in Tokyo — Jeremiah Jensen (L), Shara Park (center), and Alex Cabrero (R). (...
Alex Cabrero and Shara Park, KSL TV & Jeremiah Jensen, KSL Sports

KSL Olympic Crew Shares Their ‘Gold Medal Moments’ From Tokyo

After a year of postponement, the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo have come to an end. Our KSL Team has provided coverage of the intense international competition for the last three weeks, but before they go, they wanted to share a few gold medal moments of their own. 
1 year ago
(KSL TV)...
Shara Park, KSL TV

KSL’s Shara Park Visits Tokyo Japan Temple, Speaks With Local Church Members

As the Tokyo Olympics wrap up, our KSL team has been able to visit several important religious and cultural sites in Japan, including one that is important to member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — the Tokyo Japan Temple.
1 year ago
Dr. James Parker with Parker Muscle and Sports Clinic in Kaysville helps a patient at his office. (...
Alex Cabrero, KSL TV

Kaysville Chiropractor Helps Athletes On US Track And Field Team In Tokyo

We have had possibly more athletes with Utah ties represented in Tokyo than during any other Summer Olympics before, but it's not just athletes going to the Games. KSL's Alex Cabrero spoke with a Kaysville chiropractor who is on the medical crew for the U.S. Track and Field team.
1 year ago
(KSL TV)...
Alex Cabrero & Keira Farrimond, KSL TV

SLC Woman, Utah-Based Company Participate In Olympics In Special Way

Many Utahns work in some capacity with the Olympics, beyond just athletes. A woman from Salt Lake City has been working with NBC since 2002, doing makeup for athletes and on-air hosts, while Utah-based company, OC Tanner, has spent more than 20 years creating customized rings for every American Olympian.
1 year ago
(KSL TV)...
Alex Cabrero, KSL TV

Utah Museum Showcases Small Item That Brings Hope, Peace To Humanity

An airplane based in Wendover, Utah carried and dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. That moment, and another bomb later in Nagasaki, essentially ended World War II. Today, Japan and the United States are close friends, and inside a Wendover museum, there's an example of how things can change over time.
1 year ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
Red Rock Coach Shares Thoughts On Three Utah Gymnasts Making US Olympic Team