McKayla Maroney (born December 9, 1995) is a retired elite artistic gymnast from the U.S.A. who was best known for her execution of the Amanar vault (SV 6.3) – a Yurchenko-entry vault followed by two and a half twists in the air during a laid-out back salto. She is a member of the 2012 gold-medal winning American team, also known as the Fierce Five, and is the 2012 Olympic silver medalist on vault. She is a 2011 World Champion with the U.S. team and the 2011 and 2013 World Champion on vault. She is also the 2011 and 2013 U.S. champion on vault and the 2013 U.S. champion on floor exercise. She was one of the few gymnasts capable of performing a triple-twisting Yurchenko vault.
Competing at her first Nationals, Maroney placed third on vault at the 2009 U.S. Junior National Championships in Dallas, Texas in August.
At July’s 2010 CoverGirl Classic in Chicago, Illinois, Maroney tied for second on vault with gymnast Lexie Priessman. Maroney also placed fifth on floor exercise and seventh all-around.
Maroney won the vault title at the 2010 U.S. Junior National Championships in Hartford, Connecticut during August 2010. She also placed third all-around, tied for fourth on floor exercise and placed seventh on balance beam.
At the 2010 Senior Pan American Championships in September, Maroney captured the gold medals on vault and floor exercise, as well as a share of the U.S. team gold.
At the 2011 City of Jesolo Trophy in Italy during March, Maroney bested U.S. gymnast Jordyn Wieber to win the all-around title, and she won a share of the team gold medal with the U.S.A. She also placed fourth on floor exercise, fifth on uneven bars and tied for fifth on balance beam.
In July 2011, Maroney placed fifth on floor exercise and sixth on balance beam at the 2011 CoverGirl Classic in Chicago, Illinois.
During August, she finished second (115.150) to all-around winner Jordyn Wieber at the 2011 U.S. Senior National Gymnastics Championships. where she competed the three-and-a-half twisting salto on floor exercise during both nights of competition. With the help of her Amanar, she also won the U.S. vault title ahead of current Vault World Champion Alicia Sacramone. Maroney placed fifth on floor exercise and seventh on balance beam.
Following two selection camps at the Karolyi Ranch in New Waverly, Texas, Maroney was named to the U.S. team for October's 2011 Gymnastics World Championships in Tokyo, Japan.
During the preliminary round of competition at 2011 Worlds, Maroney delivered an excellent performance on vault, qualifying in first place to the vault final (15.533, 14.633). She also finished 12th in the all-around (56.324) but was ineligible for the all-around final due to the "two athletes per country" rule for finals qualifiers. The skills Maroney performed included an Amanar on vault (15.533), a tucked double-back dismount on beam (13.30), and a 3 1/2-twist and a 2 1/2 twist to tuck front on floor (13.833). The U.S. team finished the preliminary round at Worlds in first place (234.253), ahead of Russia (231.062), China (230.370) and Romania (227.228).
In the women's team finals competition at Worlds, Maroney contributed to the U.S. team effort on vault and floor. She vaulted a terrific Amanar to earn a meet-high score of 16.033. On floor, she performed a 3 1/2 twist, a 2 1/2 twist to a layout front full and a 1 ½ to double tuck (14.566). The U.S. won the team gold medal (179.411) over second-place Russia (175.329) and third-place China (172.820).
In the vault finals, Maroney captured the vault gold medal with excellent form on her Amanar (15.8) and her laid-out Podkopayeva (14.8). She bested second-place finisher Oksana Chusovitina of Germany by more than .55 (15.3 vault average versus 14.733 vault average). With her victory, Maroney earned the third world championships gold medal on vault in a row for the U.S., following Kayla Williams in 2009 and Alicia Sacramone in 2010.
In preparation for the 2012 London Olympics, Maroney upgraded her second vault to a Mustafina (a round-off, half-on, full-twisting layout front somersault), which she performed at two national team training camps.
Maroney competed at the City of Jesolo Trophy in late March. The American team finished first, and Maroney finished fourth in the all-around, behind teammates Kyla Ross, Aly Raisman, and Sarah Finnegan.
Maroney competed at the Secret US Classic in May. She competed on vault, where she placed first, and balance beam, where she placed tenth.
Maroney competed at the Visa Championships. She posted the highest vault score on day one. However, in warm ups on day two just prior to the competition, she fell on her back on floor exercise and was taken to the hospital after showing signs of a concussion. She scratched the second day of competition, but successfully petitioned into the Olympic Trials.
At the Olympic Trials, she won the vault easily, but had mistakes on her other events, including a fall on both bars and beam. However, she was named to the Olympic team as their vault specialist.
In London, she was originally going to contribute on vault and floor exercise. However, in training, she sustained a foot injury and only competed on vault. During qualifications, she performed well on vault, securing a spot in the event final.
In the vault event final, Maroney went up seventh. She took a small hop on her first vault but still scored a 15.866. Shockingly, she fell on her second vault, scoring a 14.300. She won the silver behind Romania's Sandra Izbasa. Maroney said of her performance in the final,
- "I really didn’t deserve to win a gold medal if I fall on my butt, I’m not disappointed about the silver, I’m disappointed about my performance."
Shortly after the conclusion of the gymnastics competition at the Olympics, Maroney announced her intention to compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
"Not Impressed" MemeDuring the medal ceremony for the vault final, Maroney was photographed, unsmiling during the Romanian national anthem (left), which became an internet meme named, "McKayla is not impressed". Maroney has gone along with the joke, posting a picture on Instagram of herself with teammates Aly Raisman and Kyla Ross, all making the "not impressed" face upon finding out the swimming pool they wanted to go to was closed. Maroney has called the meme "pretty funny", and has said that she apparently makes the face without noticing until her teammates point it out to her.
Maroney participated in the Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions from September 8 to November 18. A few weeks in, she and Aly Raisman became injured performing on the uneven bars. Maroney was out for most of the tour. Her spot in the Olympic rings was filled by Alicia Sacramone.
Maroney returned to full training in January and attended a National team training camp at the end of May. She competed on vault and floor at the US Classic, debuting a new double layout pass on floor. She placed first on vault and third on floor.
At the National Championships in August, Maroney continued to only compete on vault and floor, winning both events. She was also inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame with the rest of the Fierce Five. At the Worlds selection camp in September, she was named to the US team for the World Championships.
Initially, Maroney was to competed on vault and floor exercise, but was switched to compete the all-around shortly before qualifications began. She competed in the fourth subdivision, the last American to compete. She scored rather low on floor exercise, after receiving a neutral 0.1 deduction for her music being over time (something her coach and the USA delegation missed). Later, she did hit both her vaults and her uneven bars routine, but fell on balance beam. She qualified to the vault final in first place, but missed the all-around, uneven bars, and floor finals because her other two teammates had qualified ahead of her.
In vault finals, Maroney competed last, scoring a 15.966 on her Amanar and a 15.483 on her "Mustafina", averaging out to a 15.724 and defending her World title on vault over compatriot Simone Biles and North Korea's Hong Un-Jong.
Following the World Championships, Maroney was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, causing anxiety and depression. As a result, she was out of the gym for a while. She officially announced her retirement in an interview with GymCastic.
|2009||Junior Visa Championships||27||3rd|
|Junior Pan American Championships||3rd|
|2010||Junior CoverGirl Classic||7||2nd||5|
|Junior Visa Championships||3rd||1st||7||4|
|Pan American Championships||1st||1st||1st|
|2011||City of Jesolo Trophy||1st||1st||1st||5||5||4|
|2012||City of Jesolo Trophy||1st||4||1st||6|
|U.S. Olympic Trials||7||1st||5|
|London Olympic Games||1st||2nd|
|U.S. National Championships||1st||1st|
|Antwerp World Championships||1st|
2011 - "Dorouga" by Bijan Mortazavi
2012 - "Yemmoo" by Samvel Yervinyan
Maroney has expressed interest in becoming an actress after gymnastics. While she was off the Kellogg's Tour in 2012, she earned herself a three-episode guest spot on Hart of Dixie (episode 2x07: "Baby, Don't Get Hooked on Me", episode 2x13: "Lovesick Blues", and episode 2x17: "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"). She also appeared as a judge in the Miss America pageant and made a cameo appearance (along with teammate Jordyn Wieber) in the music video "Up in the Air" by 30 Seconds to Mars. In late 2013, she filmed a guest spot on the crime drama Bones. Her episode, "The Spark in the Park", aired on December 6th.