Olympic gymnast and member of the famed 2012 London Summer Games' "Fierce Five," McKayla Maroney made international headlines for her Olympic performance and her now-memorable reaction to receiving the silver medal in the vault event. After she reacted to Simone Biles and Aly Raisman's victory, Maroney is again receiving media attention for supporting her former teammates, who medaled in the women's all-around gymnastics competition.
"This was seriously one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. I'm so far deep in the feels I need help out," tweeted Maroney after the gymnastics winners had been announced.
Maroney, 20, decided to pursue other career options, including acting and singing, after multiple surgeries, including one needed in her tibia bone after sustaining an injury in her left leg during a bar dismount in the Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions in September 2012. In an interview with Us Weekly, Maroney said that while she initially thought she would have some difficulty watching this year's competition, "because being an athlete and being in that world, it’s almost like you’re like, ‘Oh man, I wish that I would’ve been able to be there.’" She said her new "outlook" has made her feel excited for Team USA in the Rio 2016 gymnastics competition.
Maroney was favored to win the gold for the vault competition in the 2012 London Games, giving an incredible performance during the team's final that resulted in the first international gold for the team. But a surprise landing that left her sitting on the floor instead of upright in a triumphant pose created an upset. She still managed to take the silver, but during the awarding ceremony momentarily displayed a clearly disappointed face that went viral online in the days after the ceremony. The "I'm not impressed face" meme was something the gymnast turned into a positive thing, embracing the joke after it had become sensationalized. It began to re-circulate in response to Michael Phelps' also meme-worthy face made ahead of the swimming semi-final race in the direction of South Africa's Chad le Clos.
But despite that brief notorious moment, Maroney displayed camaraderie at its finest by saluting her teammates Biles and Raisman. And it's this kind of act that is redefining sportsmanship. These fierce competitors aren't afraid to be emotional and lend support to their teammates, even if the outcome isn't quite what they had hoped. The now-famous hug shared by Biles and Raisman, compounded with the Maroney tweet, may just be creating the perfect depiction of sportswomanship.