McKayla Maroney may not have been a part of this year's gold-medal "Final Five" gymnastics squad, but her time in the spotlight is far from over.
While Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas of the 2012 "Fierce Five" Olympic champions returned to defend their title, the 20-year-old Maroney opted not to pursue a second Games after several leg injuries in 2014 and 2015. But she has begun to lay the groundwork for pursuing her next passion: A music career.
Maroney's first single, a song titled "Ghost," is scheduled to be released September 8.
"I like to say my genre is vulnerable pop because it's all melody and lyrically driven and heart driven," Maroney told US Weekly.
But the decision to leave gymnastics behind was tough.
"I lost myself. It was an identity crisis, no doubt," Maroney said. "I would go and meet people and they'd tell me, 'You're the gymnast.' And I'm like, now that I'm no longer a competing gymnast, it throws people off and that would throw me off. I don't want to let people down. It was such a big test for me to be like, you know what? No! I'm worth more than a gold medal. I'm worth more than being a gymnast. I am not what I do. I am who I am and I'm what I love."
This year's Olympics have seen some passings of the torch. The gymnastics team featuring three newcomers won the gold, and Maroney's famous "not impressed" look after her silver medal in the 2012 vault unseated by Michael Phelps' scary game face as best Olympic meme fodder.
Here are some recent shots of Maroney from her Instagram account:
DONT TAKE UR RED WHITE AND BLUE OFF JUST YET!!!! My girls are competing at Olympic Trials tonight & the 2016 Olympic Gymnastics Team is going to be named this weekend!! A little more than a year ago I thought I'd be out there with them, but life has a funny way of taking u somewhere u never thought possible. Either way, I'm wishing all u girls the best competitions of ur lives. Hold nothing back, and take every second in. I'm there in spirit, praying for a safe competition, and sending lots of love! -Your favorite teammate, McKayla #TeamUsa #USAGYMNASTICS #olympictrails #sanjose2016