McKayla Maroney, the American artistic gymnast who – as a member of the gold medal-winning U.S. Women's Gymnastics team at the 2012 Summer Olympics – vowed audiences back home with a flawless performance, went from loved to hated to loved again -- in a matter of days. And she is not impressed.
It all started when the women's gymnastics team won its second gold medal ever, led by “Flying Squirrel” Gabby Douglas to achieve the highest score in three of the four women’s gymnastics events. Maroney, along with Douglas, Jordin Wieber, Alexandra Raisman and Kyla Ross were national heroines – living to the high expectations of a pre Olympic media blitz that included a Sports Illustrated cover.
Then came McKayla’s, literal, fall on the vault competition – where she was favored to breeze to gold and had to settle instead for the silver medal. The infamous shot in which she looks disappointed and upset for having fell in a competition where she usually performs to perfection, where quickly judged by online press and fans who dubbed Maroney a “mean girl,” in allusion to Mark Waters’ 2004 American teen comedy film Mean Girls -- starring Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams and Tina Fey.
But then, thanks to the power and magic of social media, Maroney’s disappointed shot became the meme “not impressed” which went viral in a matter of hours – as applied to any current personality and event from Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa to #RomneyRyan2012.
And though Maroney came across as a sore loser in London 2012, she was such a good sport regarding her “not impressed” meme. The online press and fans rushed to love McKayla back given her great sense of humor.
Maroney’s self deprecating reaction also landed her invitations to television programs such as Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report and NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno – where the gymnast’s formerly hated expression became a staple that people ask her to replicate every time a camera is around. It is becoming increasingly difficult for McKayla, however, to hide her smile.