McKayla Maroney Became an Olympic Icon a Decade Ago. See Her Now.
Maroney and the rest of the Fierce Five are no longer competing in elite gymnastics.
Almost 10 years ago, the Fierce Five made headlines competing in the 2012 London Olympics. The members of the legendary team each became famous in their own right: Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross, and Jordyn Wieber. Viewers tuned in as the five young women led Team U.S.A. to gold in the team all-around competition. They won by a landslide of five points, which is almost unheard of in the sport. But Maroney became well known for more than just her almost perfectly scored performance on the vault—she also went viral for an expression she made on camera that was famously dubbed the "not impressed" face.
While Maroney earned a team gymnastics gold medal after her stellar vault performance, she later ranked a bit lower with a silver medal for individual vault after falling during the landing. While receiving her silver medal, Maroney made a face that seemed to convey that she was not having it.
A couple of years after Maroney's unimpressed face went viral, she discussed the moment with Inside Gymnastics Magazine. "I remember doing the face for literally two seconds," Maroney told the magazine in 2014. "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."
Maroney didn't think much of the moment until she returned to her room and read a text from her father informing her that she'd gone viral. She took the meme in stride but was more upset about the fall. "I was sad. I was upset. And I was not impressed," Maroney said. She added that she was unable to sleep for almost a week, mentally replaying the moment she fell. "There are definitely moments in your life that changed it and that was definitely number one."
Although she may have felt that she faltered, her performance in the 2012 Olympics, alongside her team, remains one of the memorable in Olympics history. Read on to see Maroney and the rest of the Fierce Five now.
McKayla Maroney: Then
Maroney earned a near-perfect score on vault, posting a higher score than any of the other members of the Fierce Five. She received a gold medal as part of the team competition and a silver medal for individual vault.
McKayla Maroney: Now
Maroney retired from gymnastics in 2016 after a series of injuries prevented her from trying to compete in the Rio Olympics. Since leaving the sport, she's dabbled in a handful of other arenas. She appeared in a couple of shows, including Bones, and she had a recurring role on Hart of Dixie. Maroney has also tried her hand at singing, with songs such as "Wake Up Call" and "COVID Lockdown." In May, Maroney tweeted that she's working on a book that will detail her personal story, and what she's "learned from being an elite gymnast." She said, "It felt too hard to write about before, but I'm ready now."
Gabby Douglas: Then
Douglas was the only member of the team to compete in all four events—floor, vault, uneven bars, and beam—in the all-around team competition. She subsequently became the first Black American to win the gold in the individual all-around. Douglas also made history as the first American to win gold in both the team and individual all-around events. She also competed in the 2016 Olympics.
Gabby Douglas: Now
Douglas stopped competing in gymnastics after the 2016 Olympics. Following the 2012 Olympics, she published an autobiography titled Grace, Gold, and Glory: My Leap of Faith. The athlete then began acting in movies, including Love of Course and Same Difference. She also worked on The Gabby Douglas Story TV movie and the short-lived show Douglas Family Gold. Douglas also has her very own Barbie doll. In February, she was the first winner of the reality competition The Masked Dancer.
Aly Raisman: Then
Raisman was the captain and oldest member of the Fierce Five team at 18 years old. She earned a gold medal for her individual floor routine and a bronze medal for her performance on the individual balance beam. She also competed in the 2016 Olympics.
Aly Raisman: Now
All five of the U.S. gymnasts that competed in the 2012 Olympics, along with hundreds of other women, came forward as survivors of sexual abuse inflicted by the U.S.A Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar. Raisman led the fight against Nassar, reading an impact statement during his sentencing in 2018 and filing lawsuits against U.S.A. Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee for not protecting her and other gymnasts from the abuse. Raisman retired from gymnastics in 2020.
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Kyla Ross: Then
Ross was the youngest member selected to be part of the Fierce Five at just 15, but she turned 16 in time for the Olympics. While Ross didn't qualify for the finals in individual events, her performance on the uneven bars, balance beam, and floor helped her team earn the gold medal.
Kyla Ross: Now
In 2016, Ross began studying and participating in gymnastics at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She studied molecular, cell, and developmental biology. Ross graduated in 2020 and became the first female gymnast to be an Olympic, World, and NCAA champion. The gymnast continues to coach young athletes and has her own line of leotards.
Jordyn Wieber: Then
Wieber finished in fourth place in the all-around competition during the qualifying round of the 2012 Olympics. However, she was unable to compete in the finals because Raisman and Douglas received higher scores, and only two athletes from each country were allowed to compete in the final. However, she still helped her team achieve a gold medal.
Jordyn Wieber: Now
Wieber graduated from UCLA in 2017 with a psychology degree. Wieber was an assistant coach for UCLA's gymnastics program from 2016 to 2019. In 2019, she became the head coach of the University of Arkansas' women's gymnastics program. She has also been a strong advocate for women athletes, following her coming forward as a victim of Nassar's abuse.