2012 Summer Olympics

McKayla Maroney: Chances We'll See Star Vaulter Return in 2016 with a Triple

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05: Mc Kayla Maroney of the United States stands on the podium with her silver medal during the medal ceremony following the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Vault final on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on August 5, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Chris StephensCorrespondent IIAugust 7, 2012

Coming into the London Olympics, most people (including myself) thought McKayla Maroney was a shoe in to win the individual vault final.

Although it was pointed out to me in the comment sections of other articles I've written that nothing is a guarantee in the Olympics, I still thought that if anyone was a sure bet to win gold, it was Maroney on the vault.

Sadly, she fell and ended up taking the silver, although second place isn't too bad either.

Now, my next question is: Does Maroney return for the 2016 Olympics in Rio to reclaim the title of best vaulter in the world?

In four years, Maroney will be 20 years old, which isn't old but close to it in gymnastics years, unless you're Germany's Oksana Chusovitina.

If she were to come back and win gold, she would be the second oldest to do so on the vault. The oldest female to win a vaulting gold at the Olympics was Czechoslovakia's Věra Čáslavská, who won gold at the 1968 Olympics at the age of 26.

Various other gymnasts have won vaulting gold at the age of 19 (most recently North Korea's Hong Un Jong in the 2008 Olympics), but only Čáslavská has done so past the age of 20.

Of course age isn't the only thing that goes into it. Maroney could grow a little more from her 5'2" frame, or she could decide to enjoy college life and not worry about competitive gymnastics.

There are a lot of variables that will decide if Maroney will return in four years, but the biggest will be her want and desire to prove that she can win gold on the Olympic stage.

So far, Maroney has been non-committal, but there may be a sign out there that she would like to continue to compete at a high level.

According to a video posted by gymnastike.org, which interviewed the vaulter, Maroney said she wants to eventually do a triple.

I was working on like a triple for a little bit, but I'm hoping to do that in the future sometime because I'd love to try something new.

Mostly just because I know I can do more than a two-and-a-half. I'd want to be the first to do it because I know I can do it.

If it's something she feels she can do and commits to it, then I have no doubt she will return in four years. Ultimately it's up to her.

But if she does, watch out because the Maroney might well be invented.

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