Olympic medalist McKayla Maroney taking time off from gymnastics (Video)


Olympian McKayla Maroney has decided to take a break from competition so she can focus on healing herself

McKayla Maroney tore the house down with her team at the London Olympics in 2012. They won the team gymnastics gold medal, and became American treasures. She also became famous for her “not impressed” face, after earning the silver medal in the vault competition. As young as she is, McKayla could have been on the fast-track to superstardom.

With all of the awards and recognition however, there appears to be more to the story. In an interview with GymCastic, McKayla announced her “retirement” from competition. She will look to continue her education in college, while also pursuing a career in design. The interview is very moving, explaining the 20-year old’s story.

In the middle of the interview, McKayla discusses how unhealthy she was, but how her coaches and competition life changed her. Even with no blood flow in her legs, becoming tired every day or even tendinitis, he coaching staff didn’t believe her. They put in it her head that she needed to lose weight or that she was just giving excuses.

She didn’t quite know how to explain stopping what she loves doing. In the interview she stated:

"“One day I was sitting outside and I was like ‘Why am I doing this?’… I didn’t know how to be okay with not being a gymnast. I go to a Starbucks or Jamba Juice or anything and they’re like ‘Are you going to the next one (Olympics)?’ Until the other day, I was not OK with saying no.”"

Injuries in any competitive sport are a very serious issue. McKayla explains the pressures of still competing while injured until you can’t anymore. While it may be unfortunate for fans, the decision is ultimately up to her. I am sure they can definitely respect that. A healthy body for the young woman is important, especially when she knows its time. She stated in the video that she isn’t quite done, but will do whatever it takes to be somehow involved in competition. The door isn’t completely shut, so there is always room for her to return. It’s her choice whether she wants to or not.

A weight was definitely lifted off of her shoulders. McKayla has become an inspiration for future athletes. She spoke up when nobody would listen and went out on her terms. She also wants young athletes to follow their dreams, just like she has. Her dream is not over, but just on a brief hiatus.