Gymnast McKayla Maroney has her sights set on the Summer Olympics in Rio in 2016. In fact, she’s had those games in her mind since her now-famous look of consternation while standing on the medal platform when she earned a silver for vaulting in London.
“I was standing there thinking, ‘Man, now I’ve got to go to Rio. I was already thinking about what I had to do for 2016,” Maroney tells the AP.
It won’t be easy. Female gymnasts have a small window in which to compete at the Olympics, since their sport is so hard on their bodies, especially as their bodies change as they age, and due to the fact that the games only occur every four years. Maroney will be 20 years old in Rio, which in the sport of women’s gymnastics is a far cry from being 16 at the London games.
McKayla’s run at Rio was made even harder when Maroney fell during a dismount on a post-Olympic tour and had to have three surgeries to repair a bone in her left leg. Doctors initially told her she would probably never compete again at the Olympics.
But that just made her more determined. She plans to concentrate on the floor exercise and vault for right now and says, “All I know is I love to do this. I’m going to do it for as long as I can.”