McKayla Maroney Gets Candid About the Mental and Physical 'Costs' of Her Gymnastics Career
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McKayla Maroney is opening up about the unseen challenges she's faced as an elite gymnast.
While taking part in a Twitter Q&A with fans on Tuesday, the 25-year-old Olympic gymnast opened up about the "costs" — both physical and mental — of her past gymnastics career.
Initially sharing a tweet in which she revealed that she is writing a book, Maroney said, "I've been responding to more gymnastics questions if anyone needs any advice. I'm working on a book right now, and I'm extremely excited to share my story, and all the things I learned from being an elite gymnast."
"It felt too hard to write about before, but I'm ready now," she added.
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🤍 I’ve been responding to more gymnastics questions if anyone needs any advice.. I’m working on a book right now, and I’m extremely excited to share my story, and all the things I learned from being an elite gymnast. 📚It felt too hard to write about before, but I’m ready now. https://t.co/0t8rdYnvja
— mckayla (@McKaylaMaroney) May 18, 2021
Responding to an array of queries on the social media website, Maroney answered one question from a fan, who asked her if she had any regrets about her time in the sport.
"There are so many should have, could have, would haves. you are an amazing anomaly being an Olympic gymnast — looking back as a younger gymnast, would you have preferred to not 'push through the pain'?" the fan asked, also noting that she is a parent of a gymnast.
"I don't regret it because I can now be a voice to help girls like your daughter, but I also was extremely lucky to make the Olympic team," Maroney responded. "I think letting her know all the possible costs, and asking her if she thinks it's still worth it is a really good idea."
"I was never informed about the costs, and wish I would've known some of them. For example that it would take me 5 full years to mentally and physically heal from the intensity of what I went through," Maroney continued.
In a follow-up tweet, the gymnast also reiterated that she understood the challenges — including injuries — of pursuing the sport at the elite level, however, "I was not going to stop until I went to an Olympics. Nobody's doubt was going to stop me after all the hard work I put in. It was my dream, and it felt like my purpose ... but if it feels forced, and she doesn't want it, and her bodies done. Take a break."
"There's nothing wrong with taking space from the sport. People make comebacks. Healing an injury is extremely important for long term happiness and health," she added to a final tweet in the thread. "I gave up my 2016 Olympic dream cuz it would've killed me. That wasn't worth it to me. I was 18, and just over the abuse."
RELATED VIDEO: McKayla Maroney Alleges USA Gymnastics Tried to Silence Her Abuse Story
Back in 2017, Maroney revealed she had been sexually abused by disgraced USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, who was convicted in January 2018 after being accused of sexual misconduct by over 150 women and girls. Maroney initially revealed her abuse in an October 2017 Twitter post, writing then that it lasted until she left the sport in 2016.
In her first television interview about the allegations in April 2018, the gold-medal-winning Olympian told NBC News that Nassar's abuse was constant and that it began almost immediately after going to the former gymnastics doctor nearly a decade ago.
Maroney's friend and fellow gymnast, Aly Raisman — who has also detailed surviving abuse at the hands of Nassar — commended her social media post on Tuesday.
"I totally agree with this. Still struggling so much to recover. I'm so glad I have @McKaylaMaroney to talk to because she validates me & supports me," she tweeted. "It's hard not be worry when it takes years & years to recover. It's crazy how much the years of training has impacted both of us."