McKayla Maroney Aims To Impress At 2016 Olympics In Rio

McKayla Maroney was already thinking about 2016 when she had her famous podium moment in 2012.

The American gymnast had just been stumbled in the vault, an event she was expected to dominate, and finished with a silver medal. On the podium she was caught with a smirk that made it look as if she wasn’t impressed with second place, a picture that spawned many internet memes.

Maroney revealed this week that while on the podium, she was already considering her comeback in four years.

”I’m standing there thinking, ‘Man, now I’ve got to go to Rio,’ ” Maroney said. ”I was already thinking about what I had to do for 2016.”

Now, one year after the Olympics, McKayla Maroney has met challenges in her attempt to return. She was injured during a gymnastics tour and needed three surgeries in three months to fix a bone in her leg. Doctors said her return to the biggest stage in gymnastics was doubtful, but Maroney has been tirelessly working to recover and make it back.

”All I know is I love to do this,” Maroney said. ”I’m going to do it for as long as I can.”

She started the comeback last month, competing in the Secret Classic in Chicago and showing few effects of the injury.

Since her performance at the 2012 Olympics in London, Maroney became one of the most recognizable American athletes, partly for her gold-medal winning performance and partly for the “unimpressed” moment.

In the months that followed the games Maroney made plenty of television appearances, and even made the “unimpressed face” with President Barack Obama. Along the way she also picked up sponsorship deals, including one with Dr. Pepper Snapple Group that includes public appearances and social media campaigns.

But McKayla Maroney would face long odds to return to Rio, even if she remains injury-free. At 17, she realistically only has a few more years remaining in a sport that is eternally dominated by youth.

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