McKayla Maroney just turned 22 on December 9, 2017, but she has already retired from gymnastics on February 24, 2016, due to health issues before and after the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, United Kingdom.
Despite retiring from gymnastics at an young age, Maroney has quite a resume in the sport. She was home-schooled by her parents in order to train as an elite gymnast. She once told The Orange County Register: "When I was younger...I would be watching Tarzan and running around on all fours. My mom was like, 'I need to put this child in gymnastics. She's crazy.' I was technically in gymnastics at the age of two and always felt comfortable in the gym."
Maroney began her junior career competing at the Visa Championships in Dallas, Texas, in 2009 and 2010. She then began her senior career competing at the City of Jesolo Trophy in Jesolo, Italy, in 2011, and upgraded her second vault to a round-off, half-on, full-twisting front layout in preparation for the 2012 Summer Olympics. After winning a silver medal in the vault finals, she was photographed making a look of disappointment with her lips pursed to the side, which caused the photo to become viral—so viral that it helped her get a photo with then-President Barack Obama, who made the same face, and the duo's photo made the No. 1 spot on Yahoo's Most Viral Photos list in 2012.
Maroney tried to make a comeback in gymnastics in 2013, but that didn't work out.
Without further ado, here are 15 things USA Gymnastics wants you to forget about McKayla Maroney.
15 Her 'Not Impressed' Face
As we've already mentioned in the introduction of this list, McKayla Maroney made a not impressed face after winning a silver medal at the vault final of the 2012 Summer Olympics. We guess that she just wasn't satisfied with a silver medal, but what else could she do? After all, she fell during one of her vaults.
If you follow trending topics, you should know that Maroney's not impressed face quickly went viral and became a meme. But it wasn't the only not impressed face in her life. She also made the face when she posed with then-President Barack Obama at the White House, with her fellow teammates Aly Raisman and Kyla Ross when they were unimpressed with a closed pool and with Fierce 5 when they did gymnastics on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
14 Her Battle With Mental Illness
Yeah, we know it's 2018 and there shouldn't be a stigma towards mental illnesses; but unfortunately that stigma continues to exist.
In 2015, Maroney opened up about her battle with mental illness. She said: "I got really sick after the World championships...I got this thing called adrenal fatigue. It caused me to have depression and anxiety and it caused a lot of things that sucks." She added: "So trust me guys, I have been there in the lowest low and I am just like can I get lower! I don't think I can get lower."
Maroney made a video about mental illness for her YouTube channel. She said that the reasons why she made the video was because she wanted to help people, that she was so tired of trying to be cool and that wanted to prove that she struggles like everyone else. Those are valid reasons, so we hope she'll get the help she needs for her anxiety and depression in order to live a happy and healthy life.
13 She Was A Victim A Celebrity Photo Leak
Despite living a disciplined life, private photos of Maroney were leaked onto the internet as a part of the 2014 celebrity photo leaks.
The photos were reportedly taken when Maroney was underage, which made the incident all the more disturbing, as it sexualized her as well as other celebrities. She has said that some of the photos were fake, but we're pretty sure that some others were real.
We're well aware that it wasn't long before Maroney asked one of her attorneys to send a letter to adult websites that she was underage in some of those photos, requesting that they take them down immediately. At least she halted the leak and avoided going down the same route that helped Kim Kardashian rise to fame.
12 She Was The Target Of Plastic Surgery Rumors
Like most young adults, Maroney was the target of rumors, but these weren't just petty rumors on a child's playground. These were rumors on whether or not she underwent plastic surgery.
So is McKayla a Maroney or a Kardashian? We'll let you decide, but if you take a look at the before and after college of Maroney, you'd most likely think that she got a filled out face, fuller lips and an enhanced chest. We don't know if she actually went under the knife, as she has denied such surgeries in an interview with Seventeen.
Maroney told Seventeen: "First of all, that I haven't...Growing up in the social media world, it's tough. Your face changes, you get older, your face fills out, and you fall into liking makeup and different stuff like that. And for people saying that, for the most part — it would kind of hurt my feelings when you haven't done anything."
She added: "You just kind of have to keep being yourself and move forward with what you love...I just haven't had anything to give to people, so they're almost just picking at anything that they can to find something to talk about me for."
11 She Seems Like She Wants To Be A Kardashian
Maroney seemingly decided that it was easier to cash in on internet fame than on her gymnastics skills, so she bailed out on the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Maroney apparently took on the role of a social media starlet like the Kardashian/Jenner family. And the way she promotes herself is totally Kardashian-esque, where she ends up highlighting some of her curvier features. There's nothing wrong with that, but the belfies sparked rumors among fans and media members that she was the recipient of implants on her derriere.
While the rumors may be a bit too outrageous, Maroney can handle the speculation by ignoring it and posting more photos of her backside. She reminds us of a young Kim Kardashian...and she seems like she wants to be a Kardashian too.
10 She Dropped A Racy Video On Instagram
To a large amount of fans, Maroney has suddenly dropped from a first-rate gymnast to a second-rate attention seeker, but we'll let you know think about her transformation.
It seems like Maroney enjoys showing off her curves. She once dropped a racy video on Instagram of her wearing a thong and dancing suggestively for the camera. Some fans thought that her account was hacked, but that wasn't the case as she defended herself on Twitter, writing: "Hey, I'm just doing me. If you want me to be a role model so bad, be inspired by how I give zero f's and go do you."
Maroney was 21 years old at the time, so she was clearly capable of making her own decisions. Whether those decisions are right or wrong remain up for debate.
9 Her Parents Sued USA Gymnastics Before She Revealed Inappropriate Conduct From Coaches
Maloney's parents sued USA Gymnastics months before their daughter revealed a case of sexual assault. Her parents' previous lawsuit against USAG was reportedly a secret until she referred to them filing a new lawsuit against them.
According to Radar Online, the shocking lawsuit read: "MCKAYLA MARONEY is the daughter of the Plaintiffs JANE PCNE DOE and JOHN PCNM DOE, filed with the Superior Court of Los Angeles, Case No. BC667053 on or around June 30, 2017.”
The lawsuit was brought forward because her family was seeking to recover damages suffered by USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic committee. The lawsuit alleged that the groups concealed their knowledge of known sexual abusers in the program, including Dr. Larry Nassar.
The lawsuit went on to read the following:
“Plaintiffs suffered and continue to suffer great pain of mind and body, shock, emotional distress, physical manifestations of emotional distress, embarrassment, loss of self-esteem, disgrace, humiliation, and loss of enjoyment of life.”
“Due to it’s failure to enforce these policies, the Plaintiffs’ daughter was sexually harassed, abused, and molested by Nassar.”
As a result, a Petition for Coordination was granted on December 12, 2017.
8 She Was Paid $1.25 Million To Stay Quiet
In late 2017, Maroney filed a lawsuit, seeking damages for the alleged sexual abuse she suffered for years under the hands of Dr. Larry Nassar, a USA Gymnastics doctor and former Michigan State University doctor.
Maroney's lawyer, John Manly, said that confidentiality agreements were illegal in California when it comes to child cases. Manly told ESPN: "We're basically saying [USA Gymnastics] and its lawyers violated the law by asking McKayla to agree to it and that she should be free to talk about her abuse to whomever she wants, whenever she wants."
Nassar was a serial victimizer as he has been accused by more than 140 females in civil lawsuits. Yet, USAG and MSU protected him for many years, even after the first time he was investigated by local authorities. Aside from the obvious damages, the lawsuit also looked to nullify the non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses in Maroney’s settlement.
In January 2018, the Michigan Attorney General's Office asked an Ingham County judge to sentence Dr. Nassar to 40 to 125 years in prison. If he's sentenced to 125 years, it would represent one year for each female who accused him.
7 USA Gymnastics Were Seeking A Fine If She Spoke Out
Thankfully USA Gymnastics has revoked the possibility of fining Maroney $100,000 if she speaks out at Nassar's trial, but the fact that there was even a possibility of fining a victim for speaking out was outrageous. Supermodel Chrissy Teigen even offered to pay Maroney's fine if she chose to speak out. Maroney thanked Teigen for being so generous saying:
“I’m shocked by your generosity, and I just want you to know how much hope your words bring to all of us! I just can’t get over the fact that someone I don’t personally know is sticking up for me, let alone a strong women that I’ve looked up to for years!”
USA Gymnastics has now come forward and changed their stance on the matter, probably as a way of reacting to the negative publicity they were facing.
6 She Was Homeschooled
Like several other accomplished athletes, Maroney was homeschooled by her parents so she could spend as much time training to become an elite gymnast. That appeared to work as she went on to compete internationally at the 2011 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Tokyo, Japan. She finished in first place on the United States' team with a vault score of 16.033 and a floor score of 14.566.
Maroney told International Gymnast Magazine: "For every competition, I just went in there with confidence in myself and in my team, and each day it felt like I gained more and more experience."
Fast forward to 2012 when Maroney was selected to represent the U.S. in the 2012 Summer Olympics. She may not have had a "traditional" education, but she turned out just fine.
5 Maroney Alleges Abuse Started When She Was 13
Whatever you think about McKayla Maroney now, the fact that she's been willing to speak out about what happened to her is significant, as she's one of the most recognizable faces in all of gymnastics. Maroney went so far as to allege she was the victim of abuse as young as 13 years old. She wrote a lengthy post on Twitter, as part of the #MeToo movement. This came on the tails of the countless scandals of inappropriate conduct happening in Hollywood.
“People should know that this is not just happening in Hollywood,” Maroney wrote. “This is happening everywhere. Wherever there is a position of power, there seems to be potential for abuse. I had a dream to go to the Olympics, and the things that I had to endure to get there, were unnecessary, and disgusting.”
She then went on to recount countless times where she felt was being victimized by someone in power.
4 She's Not Shy About Showing Off
McKayla Maroney's alleged enhancements have led to her going racier on social media, but Maroney insists that the way she's going now, is a way of releasing all the stress and tension she was under back when she was competing.
“When I was competing at the Olympics, the last thing I was worried about was what I looked like, what my hair was doing. I didn’t even really wear makeup. It was not something I cared about. I think it was really good for me to have that piece of my life where I wasn’t that obsessed with all those things because that really showed me that those things don’t matter. They’re fun if you can use them for good and for your self-love, but at the end of the day… I’m me without anything.”
3 She Was An Actress
Two years before she announced her retirement, Maroney made her acting debut in Hart of Dixie on the CW Television Network as Rose's friend Tanya in an episode titled "Baby, Don't Get Hooked On Me." The debut turned into a reoccurring role and she appeared in six episodes of the series.
A year later, Maroney appeared in Bones on Fox as a gymnast named Ellie who was a suspect in the murder of a fellow gymnast in an episode titled "The Spark in the Park."
We don't think that USA Gymnastics would disapprove of Maroney being an actress, but there were certain scenes in television shows that would make them question her actions off the floor. Who knows where her entertainment career will go from here.
2 She's Trying Her Hand At Music
Hanging up her leotard wasn't easy, but Maroney was able to stop competing after the 2013 World Championships, where she won a gold medal in the vault category. She told Gymnastics magazine: "I don’t want anybody to think that McKayla is retiring. I don’t even want people to use that word...I got into gymnastics when I was 18 months old...and this is something I’m always going to be a part of it. I’m never leaving this sport. The only difference is I'm not competing anymore."
On the contrary, Maroney is indeed retired and experienced a bit of an identity crisis after her retirement. In 2016, she announced that she'd make her singing debut with a single titled "Ghost." She apparently wants to become the next Taylor Swift. Good luck with that.
It sure would be something if Maroney began writing songs about how USA Gymnastics averted their eyes to the despicable acts that were going on with young gymnasts.
1 She Held Herself Accountable For Her Mistake
Yeah, Maloney became notorious for her not impressed face, but she held herself accountable for her mistake.
According to PensAndPatron.com, Maloney said: "I’ll have to watch the video and figure out what happened...It’s really sad that I had to fall on that vault but I’m glad I won a silver medal. I know I can do better vaults but I also know I didn’t deserve the gold medal because I fell on my second vault. It happens. It’s gymnastics. You can’t always be perfect. Sometimes things don’t go as planned."
At least Maloney was honest and humbled herself a bit following the viral mishap after a silver medal individual performance! Good for her!