Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney has conquered her sport at the age of 17 but now faces another daunting challenge: living life after being an Internet meme.
The online chatter began immediately after Maroney folded her arms and twisted her lips into a scowl on the Olympic awards podium after receiving a silver medal in the vault competition. Her expression has infamously become known as the “not impressed” face. The photo spread about the web and people started Photoshopping Maroney’s picture into other situations: “Adele wins six Grammys? McKayla Maroney is not impressed.” The meme reached its peak when Maroney and President Obama posed together, each making the "not impressed" face.
“Having a meme happen to you, it’s so unexpected and it’s not something you can plan for," Maroney tells The Daily Ticker. “Now that it’s all happened, I’m thankful for it. I’ve learned a lot and it’s made me who I am today.”
Maroney has managed to parlay her face into a money-making venture. The gymnast has signed an endorsement deal with Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) to represent the company's new low-calorie 7UP TEN soda. As a part of the endorsement deal, Maroney will be retiring her not impressed face and revealing her new “impressed face.”
Maroney has been keeping busy since the 2012 Olympics Games. She has a role on The CW’s Hart of Dixie, and she’s also back in the gym training for the 2016 summer Olympics in Brazil.
Maroney will be 20 by the time the 2016 summer Olympics roll around, nearly retirement age for a gymnast. The gold medalist isn’t quite sure what she’ll do after retirement. Many gymnasts end up attending college, some become coaches, others work in sports journalism or the entertainment industry.
“I have to be smart with what I decide to go with and I have to be impressed with it and love it," she says. “I invest my heart and soul into whatever I do.”
Does the successful athlete have any tips for non-athletes? “Go with your gut, be smart and do what you want...but I don’t have too many tips, I’m only 17 and I’m still learning!”
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