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How Larry Nassar saved McKayla Maroney's Olympic dreams at her own expense

Asher Fair
Editor's Pick
23 Apr 2018, 14:52 IST

Olympics Day 4 - Gymnastics - Artistic
McKayla Maroney at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England

During the Dateline NBC hourlong special called "Silent No More", a documentary that focused solely on the Larry Nassar sexual assault scandal, former Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney revealed something that even she sees as very confusing to this day.

Nassar, the disgraced former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University physician who has been accused of sexually assaulting more than 260 people, many of whom female gymnasts, also sexually assaulted Maroney, who is now 22 years old, starting when she was only 13 years old.

But Nassar, who is now serving the first of his three lengthy prison sentences that he was given this past December, January and February, also did something else; he saved Maroney's Olympic dreams.

After getting to London, England for the 2012 Summer Olympics along with her four United States women's gymnastics teammates Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, Jordyn Wieber and Kyla Ross, of whom the first three have also accused Nassar of sexual assault, Maroney broke her right toe.

Nassar, however, lied about the extent of her injury to coach Márta Károlyi, telling her that Maroney's broken right toe was an old break.

Here is what Maroney had to say about the matter in her interview with Savannah Guthrie, according to NBC.

"He told Márta that it was an old break, and he lied so I could stay on the team."

When Guthrie clarified that she did, in fact, want to compete in the Olympics, here is how Maroney responded.

"That's what I'm saying! So he saved me and he is one of the reasons that I was able to stay on the team because I would have been kicked off if they knew how bad it was."

When Guthrie asked her if she still feels conflicted about the whole situation, here is what Maroney had to say.

"Yea, it's like two different people, to me, that I am trying to merge into one."

Like Maroney stated in her interview, she would have been kicked off the team and replaced altogether had Nassar not lied about the true extent of her injury. In fact, while she was still able to compete on the vault, she was replaced by Ross in the floor routine.

Maroney did end up competing on the vault in both the team competition and the individual competition. Her vault in the team competition was given a score of 16.233, which was the highest score among all 24 vaults performed in that particular competition by far.

Here is the video of that vault.

Maroney's amazing vault in the team competition ended up helping the United States women's gymnastics team win the gold medal for the first time since they did so in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.

Maroney's performance on the vault in the individual competition earned her a silver medal in what was and is one of the largest upsets in Olympic history. As the overwhelming favorite to win the gold medal in the competition, she failed to land her dismount on her second vault in the finals, which hurt her score.

That fall caused Maroney's astounding streak of 33 consecutive vaults during which she successfully landed her dismount to come to a shocking and extremely disappointing and heartbreaking end.

After she received her silver medal for her performance and stood on the podium, her face in the moment when she heard the Romanian national anthem playing in honor of Romania's Sandra Izbașa winning the gold medal became a meme that went viral almost instantly.

Here is a picture of what became known as Maroney's "not impressed" face.

Olympics Day 9 - Gymnastics - Artistic
McKayla Maroney at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England

Unfortunately by likely truthfully, as far as Nassar truly saving Maroney's Olympic dreams goes, him doing so for any other reason than to keep her there for him to sexually assault her would be shocking and, quite frankly, unbelievable, especially since she was one of his primary targets.

Yet without Nassar's lie, Maroney would have never gotten the opportunity to compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics like she did. Because of his lie, her Olympic dreams stayed alive, and she ended up walking away with a gold medal and a silver medal.

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