Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney says she's no longer going to compete in elite gymnastics.
The 20-year-old, who was member of the 'Fierce Five' that led the United States to Olympic gold in London in 2012, made the announcement during an interview with GymCastic.
“The reason why I wanted to go to this next Olympics – I finally figured it out. I wanted to show people that when everyone else is up against them, they can get through the struggle and the pain, the surgeries and do it because they love something.” Maroney said. “One day I was sitting outside and I was like ‘Why am I doing this?'"
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Maroney revealed she didn't know how to be OK with not being a gymnast or saying 'no' to the Olympics because for a long time she didn't think there was a choice to be something else.
"Even being burnt out, even having everything in my life telling me 'McKayla, you have to be done, I know you don't want to,' but eventually you move on and that's OK," she said. "You have to be so passionate and so in love with gymnastics to get to the Olympics, and when you start loosing just an announce of that, I was just like 'I'm not going to make it."
The three-time World Champion noted that she is not retiring, and intends to be active in the world of gymnastics "whether you like it or not."
"I don't even want people to use that word. I into gymnastics when i was 18 months old. This is something I am always going to be a part of," she added. [[370002191, C]]
Maroney inherited the athletic talents of her father, a former Purdue University football quarterback, and the petite size of her mother. She tells GymCastic that as a young girl, she feared she was going to be too tall for gymnastics.
"My mother is 5'2 and my father is 6'4, so people would always tell me 'you're going to be so tall, you're not going to be able to go to the Olympics, you're going to be smacking the bar,'" Maroney said, adding that despite her worries, 'gymnastics definitely stunts growth."
Maroney has not competed since the 2013 world championships, where she won her second gold medal on vault. In 2014, she underwent knee surgery 18 months after receiving surgery to repair a fractured left tibia.
At the London games, Maroney's reaction to her silver win for individuals in the vault during the medal ceremony made her more famous than gold medal winner Sandra Izbasa and spawning hundreds of "not impressed" memes on social media.