McKayla Maroney made herself a household name by showing off her gymnastics skills at the 2012 Olympics in London. She was a part of the group that became known as the “Fierce Five,” which included Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross, and Jordyn Wieber, per Sports Keeda. According to Team USA, the five talented ladies performed very well at the Olympics, earning a gold medal for team performance. Maroney also took home an individual silver medal for the vault, and took home a gold medal in the vault at the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2012.
While her gym skills are certainly something to talk about, there was another part of the Olympics that Maroney came to be known for: her unimpressed face. Photographers snapped the shot after Maroney only took home a silver medal when she was the favorite to win gold. It went viral, and even President Barack Obama impersonated the face. “I remember doing the face for literally two seconds,” she said (via NBC News). “Like, if you watch the video, it’s two seconds. And I remember thinking, did I just make a face? Because it’s natural. I do it all the time. I have pictures of me when I’m little doing it. I have it on my Mac computer when I’m like 13.”
While Maroney’s face is one of the most well-known parts of her career, there are plenty more interesting facts about the gymnast. Keep scrolling to find out!
A terrible illness caused McKayla Maroney to be hospitalized
McKayla Maroney proved that she was tough as nails when it came to competition, but there was one specific illness that knocked her on her derriere. In February 2021, Maroney detailed her health with fans on her Instagram story. According to the gymnast, she was throwing up all day while experiencing crippling stomach and back pain. “Had to come to ER at 3am because pain kept getting worse, and I couldn’t stop throwing up,” she wrote on Instagram (via New York Post). “Just got my CT scan back. I have a few kidney stones.”
According to another Instagram story (via Yard Barker), Maroney returned home and was on bed rest. A few days after her initial post, she updated fans again, saying that her condition hadn’t really changed, but she was at least getting medication for the pain. Following the hospitalization, Maroney has shared a few photos on her Instagram page (modeling shots, that is), and she appeared to be doing fine. According to her Instagram story, Maroney shared that she got surgery to remove the stones in March 2021. “Not [going to] lie I really didn’t want surgery,” she wrote on the social media platform (via Wonderwall). “I was pretty sad, and scared of the bad possible outcomes, and the pain. I’m happy it’s over, but it’s gonna be at least a week more of pain w this stint then I’ll be good I think.”
McKayla Maroney reportedly belongs to a controversial church
McKayla Maroney is reportedly part of a new church that was formed in 2017. According to the Daily Beast, the former gymnast is a member of the Church of the Master Angels, which has been compared to the Church of Scientology, where plenty of well-known celebrities (like Tom Cruise and John Travolta) belong. The CMA website states that they are “a unitary, non-denominational, faith-based community Church” who welcome “all seekers of truth, cosmic awareness and soul-realization, regardless of belief, tradition, creed, or religious affiliation that promotes the selfless worship of God through the teaching of God’s Masters, Angels, and Holy Saints.” They also offer courses, and it reportedly costs around $10,000 to actually attend a service at one of their two locations — one in Boone, North Carolina, and the other in Los Angeles, California.
It’s only known that Maroney is a member of the church because fans have spotted her wearing one of their necklaces (which can cost up to $849). She also follows the church’s page on Twitter and has commented on a photo of her “angel friends,” per the Daily Beast. It does not appear that Maroney has ever publicly spoken about her affiliation to the church as of March 2021.
Gymnastics found McKayla Maroney at a young age
It’s no secret that McKayla Maroney is a fierce competitor, which is why she achieved so much success in her impressive career. Most of the time, people who are passionate about a particular sport do not realize it early on, but Maroney found “her sport” at an incredibly young age — two years old. On Maroney’s USA Gymnastics profile, the star shared that it was her abundance of energy that caused her mom to stick her in gymnastics in the first place. “My mom put me in gymnastics because I had so much energy and I was always running around, so she thought gymnastics might take away some of the insane amounts of energy,” she shared.
The athlete has trained in several highly respected gyms in California, including the National Gymnastics Training Center in Aliso Viejo, Gym-Max Academy of Gymnastics in Costa Mesa, and the All Olympia Gymnastics Center in Calabasas. In 2016, Maroney revealed that she was no longer competing in the sport that made her famous, primarily due to injuries. “I just got really unhealthy again,” she told GymCastic. “One day, I was just sitting outside and was like, why am I doing this.” Still, the athlete has said that she refuses to call it “retirement.”
McKayla Maroney has become a public speaker
Even though McKayla Maroney is no longer involved in the sport of gymnastics’ physical aspect, she still uses her fame from it to her benefit. According to Athlete Speakers, the gymnast is now speaking at events. She’s available to appear at anything from virtual events to endorsements to speaking engagements, according to the site. “We specialize in assisting small, medium, and large companies as well as event planners with booking athletes like McKayla Maroney for speaking engagements and appearances at trade shows, golf outings, casinos, conferences, conventions, and corporate events,” the website reads.
Maroney charges between $5,000-$10,000 for an appearance, but according to her biography page, her team will do the best to offer the “best price.” The extra income can boost Maroney’s already hefty bank account because, according to Celebrity Net Worth, she’s already amassed a fortune of $3 million. She’s made most of her money from endorsements, but according to Slate, she was also awarded $1.25 million from USA Gymnastics as part of a settlement to stay quiet about her alleged sexual assault by Larry Nassar.
McKayla Maroney's father was also an amazing athlete
The following portion includes mentions of substance abuse.
McKayla Maroney likely got many of her athletic abilities from her father. According to HuffPost, Michael Maroney played football at Purdue University. Not only was he a football player, but he played the vital role of quarterback. While his daughter was competing in the Olympics in 2012, he expressed the desire to lend his support as she lived out her dream. “Don’t make it your dream. It has to be theirs,” Michael said. “If they want it bad enough, they’re going to be able to achieve it on their own.”
Sadly, the gymnast revealed to fans that she lost her father in January 2019. “Love u dad. I can’t believe it’s real. I don’t want to. I’ll miss you forever. Rest in peace. You were the most incredible dad,” the Olympian wrote in a since-deleted tweet (via People). She did not reveal further details on her father’s death at the time, but in March 2020, Pop Culture reports that Maroney issued a series of videos that talked about her dad’s death. According to the star, her father tragically passed away in a hotel room while he was on an opioid detox.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse and mental health, please contact SAMHSA’s 24-hour National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
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