McKayla Maroney Then & Now Photos Are A Powerful Reminder To Love Yourself In Every Form

Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney is perhaps best remembered for her now-classic "not impressed" face from the 2012 London games, with lips pursed to the side in a disappointed scowl. The image of Maroney, taken soon after the athlete failed to win the gold for her best event, turned the Olympian into an overnight meme sensation. But thanks to her Instagram and Twitter, Maroney's photos over the years are a powerful reminder to love yourself in every form.

The most obvious (and admittedly superficial) change in the gymnast is that she has transformed into a completely gorgeous, everything-is-Insta-worthy 20-year-old. If you circle back through her years of Instagram photos, you can see her steady progression to her new look. Her one million followers often compare her to the Kardashian sisters, and unfortunately, just as often accuse her of getting lip injections and plastic surgery.

This change is merely thanks to lip liner, a really good contour set, and some eyelash extensions, Maroney told Yahoo. It's just that her fans were used to seeing her bare-faced while performing at the Olympics, because let's face it, she had more important things to worry about than how high her eyebrows were arched:

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.
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Looks are obviously not the only thing that has changed for Maroney since the 2012 Olympics. Due to injuries she sustained during the Olympics and a series of follow-up surgeries, the Olympian had to officially bow out of gymnastics for good earlier this year. Her doctor told her she would likely never be able to wear a pair of heels again, let alone flip from a balance beam, Sports Illustrated reported.

She's taken this major life change in stride, however. She told Yahoo that she has started a new diet and exercise routine, and now that she is apart from the sport for the first time in her life, is able to concentrate on a recently discovered love of acting and singing. She's already had roles in the television series Bones and Hart of Dixie, and is currently working on putting out new music this year.

But the most important thing about these changes in Maroney is that they have helped her strike a newfound confidence. Upon returning home from the Olympics injured and unable to work out, Maroney shared that she didn't like her body. Now, with a focus on new passions and revamped exercise plan, Maroney is again going for gold in a different way.