American gymnastics turned Olympic dreams into nightmares

American gymnastics turned Olympic dreams into nightmares

The most enduring image of the 2012 US Women’s Olympic Gymnastics team was not of athletes celebrating gold or a blocked landing at the end of a championship routine.

It was a matter of doubt and disappointment.

It came thanks to McKayla Maroney, arguably the best outfielder in the world at the time, who was nonetheless denied a gold medal after his shocking fall on his second attempt. If she had landed square, she would have won easily. She didn’t and had to settle for the money.

On the medal podium, Maroney pouted briefly. The cameras broke and the image was instantly greeted as her “unimpressed” face. It has been imitated, reproduced and repeated everywhere. Maroney even broke it during a visit to President Obama in the White House.

“I was sad, I was upset and I wasn’t impressed,” Maroney said years later. What was a joke to many was not to her. She said she …

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