Hoy’s success in the kilo at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games caught the attention of Skinner, who celebrated his 12th birthday on the day his fellow Scotsman won gold, and led him into a cycling career.
Having progressed through the British Cycling system, by 2010 Skinner was with the Senior Academy and earned selection to ride for Scotland in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, aged only 18, where he came fourth in the team sprint with John Paul and Chris Pritchard.
A year later, the Glaswegian rode for Great Britain at the UEC Under-23 European Track Championships in Portugal where he won two medals, a bronze in the sprint and silver in the team sprint with Peter Mitchell and future Olympic team mate Philip Hindes.
In April 2013, Skinner was moved onto British Cycling’s Olympic Podium Programme and, in January 2014, won his first medal at a UCI Track Cycling World Cup meeting, winning bronze in the team sprint with Paul and Lewis Oliva in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The end of 2014 saw Skinner tap a rich vein of form and catapult himself into serious contention for Rio, starting with the British championships in September when he was victorious in the kilo, sprint, keirin - beating Matt Crampton into silver in all three events - and the team sprint.
World Cup gold
That team sprint competition at the nationals saw Skinner partner Hindes and Olympic champion Jason Kenny in a winning time of 44.132 and the same line-up would end the year with a world cup gold medal in the Guadalajara round of the 2014-15 series.
In between those two successes, Skinner claimed a notable medal at the 2014 UEC European Track Championships, held on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, where he won the kilo from Germany’s Joachim Eilers.
The 2015 season saw Skinner continue his progress at European track meetings before a solid start to the Olympic year when he teamed with Hindes and Kenny to win gold at the UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Hong Kong.
In the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in London in March, Skinner was chosen to anchor the Great Britain team sprint line-up that finished sixth in qualifying, an agonising 11 thousandths of a second away from fourth place and a medal ride.
Skinner also impressed in the individual sprint later in the week, qualifying as fifth fastest and advancing to the quarter-finals where he took Russian Denis Dmitriev to a deciding third round before being eliminated.
However, the months that followed saw the British trio - and Skinner, in particular - make huge strides and, by the time they reached Rio in August, they broke the Olympic record by qualifying fastest in 42.562.
Having seen that Olympic mark fall to New Zealand in the first round, Skinner and team mates Philip Hindes and Kenny made amends in the final, beating the Kiwis to the gold medal and re-claiming their Olympic record in 42.440.
If the British performance in the team sprint was something of a surprise, Skinner’s form in the sprint competition was equally impressive as he qualified second fastest, behind countryman Kenny. In the match sprint portion of the event, Skinner advanced to the final, without losing a single ride, but found Kenny in unbeatable form, finally settling for a silver medal to add to his gold on an unforgettable debut Olympics.
|UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Tseung Kwan O (Hong Kong)||Team sprint||Gold|
|Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)||Team sprint||Gold|
|Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)||Sprint||Silver|
|UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Guadalajara (Mexico)||team sprint||Gold|
|UEC European Track Championships, Guadaloupe (France)||kilo||Gold|
|UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Guadalajara (Mexico)||team sprint||Bronze|
|UEC U23 European Track Cycling Championships, Anadia (Portugal)||team sprint||Silver|
|UEC U23 European Track Cycling Championships, Anadia (Portugal)||sprint||Bronze|