We all need to talk about McKayla Maroney because she’s… well, she’s a little different than the teenage girl who competed in the 2012 Olympics. Okay, she's a lot different.
The world was introduced to McKayla Maroney as part of the Fierce Five, which was the nickname given to the five gymnasts on the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team at the 2012 London Olympics. There was exceptional hype around this team, with hopes that they would be the first team to bring home the Team Gold Medal since 1996. And there was reason for these high hopes. At the qualification round before the finals, the girls slayed. With an overall score of 181.863, they finished first for teams. For the individual qualifying round, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, and Jordyn Wieber finished second, third, and fourth respectively. So, we had three of the four best gymnasts and the best overall team. The dream for the Team Gold Medal was alive and well.
All the hype was not for nothing, as the Fierce Five cleaned up. They took home the Team Gold Medal. Gabby Douglas took home the Individual Gold Medal, making her the first African American woman to take home that honor. Aly Raisman took home the Beam Bronze Medal and the Floor Gold Medal. And, of course, McKayla Maroney took home the Vault Silver Medal, with which she was not impressed.
How did McKayla Maroney go from being an iconic Olympic athlete (and meme sensation), who was part of a legendary team, to being… uh, a Kylie Jenner wannabe? Let’s take a walk down memory lane, shall we?
14 The Fierce Five
When the world was introduced to McKayla Maroney, she was just a 17-year-old. First of all, can you even imagine the amount of pressure on your shoulders as a 17-year-old competing at the Olympics? I had enough trouble with my chemistry homework, but then again that’s why I’m not McKayla Maroney. Also, Maroney has been competing at a high level and training for this event for her entire life. Her mother put her in gymnastic classes at the age of 2, reportedly because Maroney would watch Tarzan and run around her house on all fours. So Maroney could handle the pressure, y'know, better than I could handle my chemistry homework.
In the years leading up to the 2012 Olympics, McKayla Maroney cleaned up with national and international awards. Though Maroney finished seventh overall at the Olympic trials, she was picked for the Olympic team because of her vault performance. Literally no one could even touch this girl’s vault. It was flawless. When asked about feeling pressure about her vault, she said, “If I do my job I know I can get the gold medal. That's what they picked me to be on the team for, so I need to be confident about that.”
So, this wasn't just a 17-year-old who had the pressure of being on the Olympic team. This was a 17-year-old who had the pressure of being on the Olympic team for one specific exercise. Talk about pressure.
13 The Actual Most Perfect Vault Of All Time
When McKayla Maroney performed her vault exercise for the Team Finals, it was like one of those actual perfect moments in the world that only happens once. She got incredible height and performed a difficult vault exercise flawlessly. In fact, her landing was so perfect that the judge’s jaw literally dropped. You can actually see the judge's gaping mouth in this photo to the left of Maroney. The judge's jaw literally dropped, and that’s a lot for a gymnastics judge, as they are notoriously hard to impress.
Of course, the judges still somehow found points to take off, even though it was pretty much the most perfect vault ever. The way the scoring works is that it’s the difficulty of the exercise plus the execution, which is scored on a 10-point scale. So, McKayla Maroney’s difficulty was 6.500. She then scored a 9.733 in execution, though I really don’t even know how they took 0.267 because girlfriend was flawless. This earned her a score of 16.233, higher than anyone else who had competed on the vault for the Gymnastics Women's Team competition. This was also the highest execution score awarded at the Olympics since they implemented the new scoring system. Long story short, it was actually perfect.
This kind of vault was exactly what she came to the Olympics to do and this score is 100% one of the reasons the team took home the gold.
12 The Less Perfect Vault
With McKayla Maroney performing one of the most beautiful, flawless vaults of all time in the team competition, her taking home the gold medal in the Individual Vault competition seemed like a given. Like, who was actually going to beat McKayla Maroney in vault? No one.
The way the Individual Vault works is that each competitor does two vault exercises and the combined score of both vaults is their score. Maroney did her first vault well, maybe not as flawless as her team performance but that was a serious once in a lifetime thing. For her first vault exercise, she received a score of 15.866, which was the highest single score of anyone competing in the Individual Vault.
For Maroney’s second vault exercise… well, she landed on her butt, you guys. McKayla Maroney – the Vault Queen of the 2012 Olympics – landed on her butt. How did this happen? She got stuck with a score of 14.300, bringing her average down to 15.083.
11 She’s Not Impressed
When all the dust settles in the world, this may be one of the memes that lives on long after us. In fact, the human race may no longer exist, but the Not Impressed meme will still totally be here for the aliens or AI that rule earth.
Even with her fall, McKayla Maroney still took home the silver medal in the Individual Vault competition, because that’s how good she is. Girlfriend can straight up fall and still take home medals. In fact, she fell and she still only lost the gold by 0.108 points, so basically nothing. Also, to have performed the highest scoring vault exercise that day and then not to receive the gold medal must have stung.
While receiving her silver medal, McKayla Maroney looked like, well, the above photo is a solid picture of her face while receiving the silver medal. I don’t think anyone has ever been more bummed out about receiving an Olympic medal than McKayla Maroney was in this moment. But, can we really blame her for not being impressed with second place? Girlfriend knew she was there to do one thing and one thing only.
Her “not impressed” face wasn’t about not getting the medal, but it was rather about not competing to the level she knows she can.
10 Not Even Impressed With The President
The Fierce Five got to meet President Obama, which is what happens when you bring home a ton of medals for your country. Obama took the opportunity to get in on the not impressed joke by posing with McKayla Maroney and doing her signature face. The Internet, of course, loved this. This may have been the most beloved Obama meme until the Barack Obama/Joe Biden memes happened.
While Maroney seemed to be having a good time with it here, this whole not impressed face has to get old fast, right? There are probably still people asking her to make her not impressed face five years later. At this point, she's probably not impressed with her not impressed face.
In 2013, Maroney continued to compete at the 2013 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, where she successfully defended her vault gold medal. This would be the last competitive routine Maroney would ever do, though she wouldn’t officially announce retirement until 2016.
9 The Nude Photo Scandal
Remember the 2014 celebrity photo leak? It was when basically every single famous woman has all their nude selfies leaked on the Internet. Well, McKayla Maroney was one of the unlucky celebrities to have her photos leaks and guess what? It was child pornography.
First Maroney took to Twitter to say the photos were fake, which, in her defense, was the reaction many celebrities have to their private photos being leaked. Then, it was revealed that the photos of Maroney, who has just turned 18, were taken when she was underage, making them child pornography. Maroney’s lawyers sent a letter to Porn.com, ordering them to take down the child pornography. Reddit also had a thread with the leaked images of Maroney, and they took down the images immediately after finding out she was underage. Props to Reddit, I guess? Though, maybe they should have also taken down all the other images that were leaked without the women’s permission or consent, as it was a sick invasion of privacy.
And no, this photo is not from the leak. It's just a bikini selfie McKayla Maroney posed to her social media.
8 Her Ventures Into Acting
Here’s a riddle: What do you do when you’ve trained all your life to be a gymnast and you’re not a gymnast anymore? That’s a head scratcher, right?
Well, McKayla Maroney dipped her toe into acting. In 2013, she appeared in an episode of Bones. She followed this up with a six-episode arc on Hart of Dixie. Most recently she can be seen on an episode of Superstore. This isn't an absurd leap, as Nastia Liukin also appeared in some television shows following the 2008 Olympics. While appearing on some television is normal, most Olympians don’t actually make a career out of it, so it’s safe to say McKayla Maroney won’t be getting a regular gig on a series anytime soon.
The above photo is of Maroney with Rachel Bilson, the star of Hart of Dixie. Of course they are making the not impressed face. And I’m sure Maroney is hating it.
7 Her 20th Birthday
The biggest changes in McKayla Maroney's appearance and persona came between her 20th and 21st birthdays. Yes, we all grow up and all that good stuff, but girlfriend’s look has really changed through this one year of her life.
She posted this photo of herself on the day of her 20th birthday. She’s obviously showing off some skin, but it’s in an athletic way. Plus, McKayla Maroney showed off her body to the WORLD during the Olympics. That’s the thing with the leotards, they show off every inch of your body. But it was shown off in an athletic way, which is the same way she's showing off her body here. There’s nothing overtly sexual about it, because it's masked as athletic. She’s in workout clothes. Her hair is in a messy bun. There’s nothing too come-hither about it, but she was about to get very come-hither.
This, though, is a great photo because it reminds us of how Maroney used to look most of the time – sexy and sporty. That was until...
6 Her New Look
All of a sudden, the sporty appeal of McKayla Maroney was a thing of the past and she was suddenly… Kylie Jenner?
In this photo of Maroney, you can see the Kylie Jenner influence – from the makeup to the pigtails. Because of this mega change in her look, people were claiming Maroney had plastic surgery. On that note, can we all stop crying plastic surgery right away? The world was used to seeing Maroney as one of the top athletes in the world. Her hair was slicked back and makeup was the last thing on her mind. Of course, she’s going to look different when she’s not performing the world’s most perfect vault and she can, I don't know, put on lipstick. She hasn’t had surgery, just a change in style.
In this photo, Maroney is clearly wearing lipstick and has eyelash extensions, which is like the Kylie Jenner starter kit.
Happy 4th Of July
As if the 4th of July wasn’t already hot enough, McKayla Maroney posted this photo to her Instagram. One thing is for sure, she looks hot in that blue bikini. But, of course, her body is incredibly toned from years and years of training.
In gymnastics, the body plays such an important part of the performance, because you really have to be a certain height to excel in the sport. Maroney reportedly worried about her ability to do gymnastics long-term because of her height. Her mother is just 5’2” but her father is 6’3”, so she didn’t know which spectrum she’d end up on. Maroney clocks in at 5’3” so she’s still the perfect height for gymnastics, aka she’s really short.
The 4th of July 2017 is right around the corner, so be on the look out for another sultry photo.
5 “She’s Had Work Done”
Here’s yet another photo of McKayla Maroney’s new look. I just have to assume the people calling her out for plastic surgery are mostly men or women who don’t know the glory of makeup. Maroney is clearly wearing a lot of face makeup to chisel out of cheek bones and give her face a new shape, which is also what all the Kardashians/Jenners do with their face makeup. Actually, most women do this with their makeup at this point, as contouring has become a popular practice.
Maroney is also wearing lipstick, which she’s overlined her lips with. You can literally see where her lip ends and her skin begins under the lipstick. The overlining became a thing when Kylie Jenner said her lip injections were just her “overlining” her lips, and now girls everywhere overline their lips, which means they smear lipstick down their chins and they think they look like Kylie. (Um, no girl.)
There’s also the face Maroney is making, as she’s sucking in her cheeks and sticking out her lips. I’ll call a spade a spade when the time is right, but it’s unlikely she’s actually had plastic surgery, and rather that she’s just wearing makeup. I mean, I could be wrong, but I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt. Also, Maroney has responded to the plastic surgery rumors, stating they are false.
4 Her 21st Birthday
Yes, their transformation took place in about one year. Crazy, right?
In 2016, McKayla Maroney celebrated her 21st birthday, which she celebrated with a big night out on the town. The fact that she’s only 21 years old is crazy, and not just because she looks older with all her makeup on. The real reason it’s crazy that she’s only 21 years old is because she already peaked in her chosen field and now, she needs to find a new passion. Isn’t that CRAZY?
Yes, athletes always peak because the physicality of sports is so demanding. But to peak before you’re 21? Insanity! Sure, these girls may know the deal when they sign up to be rockstar gymnasts, but having your body give out on you – before you’re even 30 – is a sad reality. Most of us plan to excel in our career field until retirement, but McKayla Maroney, Olympic Gold Medalist, has to find something else to do with her life. Gymnastics is kind of a tragic thing in that way.
3 Her Upcoming Pop Album
Oh, but McKayla Maroney may have already found her next passion, y’all! She wants to be a pop star! No, I'm totally serious. Though, with her impressive Instagram following of 1.6 million followers, she could potentially have a large group of people to whom she can market this pop album.
Of the Fierce Five, McKayla Maroney is the first to completely detach herself from gymnastics. Both Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman competed in the 2016 Olympics, at which they took home another Team Gold Medal. Kyla Ross attends UCLA, where she is on the gymnastics team. Jordyn Wieber is currently the volunteer assistant coach at UCLA.
2 The Butt Video
On May 13, 2017, McKayla Maroney posted a video to her Instagram that was very, very risqué. It features her in a tank top and thong. In the video, she shimmies a bit while turning around, giving the world a front view of her behind. She captioned the video, “another world premiere.” EXCUSE ME, BUT WHAT?! There was major concern that her Instagram was hacked, due to the 2014 nude photo scandal. However, Maroney posted another photo with the caption, “i didn't get hacked. unfollow if u need to. all love.”
She put this video of herself out there for the world to see, so I guess we can all… enjoy it? Guys, McKayla Maroney is thirsty AF for attention. This is a far cry from the teenager who was not impressed with her silver medal.
1 She’s Not A Role Model, Get Over It
There was obvious backlash to this Instagram video, because she’s supposed to be a role model. Though, I don’t know who it is that decides we all must be role models, especially women, but whatever. Maroney clapped back to this outcry with this tweet, “hey, im just doing me. if u want me to be a role model so bad, get inspired by how i give 0 fcuks and go do u. [sic]"
So, she’s not here to be a role model, unless it’s to be a role model for dancing in your thong. Got it.
Though, it is also safe to say that Maroney is still growing up. She’s only 21, guys. I think we all did some questionable things at 21. In a few years, she’ll probably be a different person, once again, and regret the thong dance video. On top of her young age, Maroney has admitting to struggling with her identity since retiring from gymnastics. She’s stated, “I lost myself. It was an identity crisis, no doubt. I would go and meet people and they'd tell me, 'You're the gymnast.' And I'm like, now that I'm no longer a competing gymnast, it throws people off and that would throw me off. I don't want to let people down. It was such a big test for me to be like, you know what? No! I'm worth more than a gold medal. I'm worth more than being a gymnast. I am not what I do. I am who I am and I'm what I love.”
If being a Kylie Jenner-esque Insta-Queen is what McKayla Maroney really, truly wants to do with her life, more power to her. But honestly, she just seems a little lost right now in life. Girlfriend just needs to find her new passion in life, other than Instagramming her thong dances.
Sources: Dailymail.co.uk, ETonline.com, MTV.com, TMZ.com, Buzzfeed.com, Elle.com