Two Arizona gymnasts medal at World Gymnastics Championships

Alex Naddour and MyKayla Skinner both won honors in China

John Cheng

MyKayla Skinner makes a landing during a routine at the 2014 World Gymnastics Championships in Nanning, China. Courtesy of

Jeremy Beren, Sports Editor

Put two feathers in the Arizona gymnastics cap—one vaulted over the competition, the other left the audience’s heads spinning.

Alex Naddour and MyKayla Skinner had a successful trip to Nanning, China for the World Gymnastics Championships last month. The former won a team bronze in pommel horse, while the latter won team gold and individual bronze in vaulting. The gold medal in vaulting marks the United States’ second consecutive such award.

Naddour, a 23 year-old from Queen Creek, may have only finished sixth in individual pommel horse finals on Oct. 11, but he registered a 15.066 mark in the team event. That event was held four days earlier, and his pommel horse score was a team-high. He also tied with fellow Oklahoma Sooner Jacob Dalton for the best mark on still rings, as both men registered a 15.000.

Naddour’s parents recently opened a USA Youth Fitness Center in Queen Creek. The 15,000 square-foot structure caters to children aged 18 months to 18 years. Naddour’s father, Mike, is also his son’s coach and was on the USA staff in Nanning.

MyKayla Skinner, though only 17, has quickly blazed a winning trail for herself in gymnastics. In her world debut, the Gilbert-trained Mesa native helped the U.S. win a second consecutive gold in vaulting. This means the U.S. are the first to win back-to-back world titles since Romania won five straight between 1994 and 2001.

Skinner scored a 15.775 on the vault, and notched a 14.666 on an intricate floor routine. The Americans finished ahead of China and Russia to claim the gold.

In individual vault finals, Skinner managed to medal, which was her stated goal coming into the event. Skinner scored a 15.700 on her Cheng, and also managed fine marks on her Yurchenko double twist as she finished behind North Korean Hong Un Jong and American Simone Biles in the event.

The fact that Skinner even went to China at her age is impressive enough, but to win a gold and a bronze at a world event is a tremendous accomplishment. I’d expect to see both Naddour and Skinner in gymnastics competitions for years to come—and maybe, just maybe, they can notch more national glory.