There are an estimated 7.2 billion people in this world. That’s a lot of people. Like, seriously a lot. Imagine being better at something than every single one of those people. Seems crazy, right? Not for McKayla Maroney, who is the best vaulter on the planet. McKayla is one of five teenage gymnasts (plus three alternates) who will try to bring home the gold for Team USA at the 2012 London Olympics. For starters, 16-year-old McKayla, a California native, is obsessed with the color pink (she loves rocking hot pink leotards), tweets a million awesome pictures a day and is seriously in love with her (hot pink, obviously) Beats headphones. Keep reading to find out what’s on McKayla’s iPod, where her love of gymnastics comes from and more!
And come back tomorrow at 12 p.m. EST for the deets on the rest of the womens’ 2012 US Olympics Gymnastics team!
1. McKayla is the best vaulter in the world. Literally. She’s the reigning world champion on the apparatus, and she’s definitely the favorite to win the gold in the event in London.
2. Her favorite show is Keeping Up with the Kardashians, but when Team USA competed at the World Championship in Tokyo last year, they all watched The Lying Game together in McKayla’s hotel room.
3. At 5’3, McKayla is the tallest girl on the US women’s gymnastics team. Growing up, she worried that she would be too tall to compete at the elite level because her dad is 6’3. Luckily for McKayla, she got her height from her mom, who is just 5’2!
4. After a scary fall, McKayla almost didn’t make the Olympic team. Less than a month before Olympic Trials in San Jose, Calif., McKayla landed flat on her back at the end of a tumbling pass while practicing her floor routine, suffering a concussion and nasal fracture. She took a week off of training, then petitioned to compete at trials. It definitely paid off!
5. Her interest in gymnastics came from watching the Disney movie, Tarzan. After she saw it, she would run around on all fours, jumping off of furniture.
6. McKayla absolutely loves her dog! She has a chocolate lab named Tia Maria.
7. McKayla’s favorite artists are pop princesses Nicki Minaj and Rihanna.
8. Though she’s the undisputed queen of the vault, McKayla’s favorite event is actually floor. She loves how she can dance and show the world her personality and who she is through her routine.
9. Going to the Olympics has always been McKayla’s dream. Check out this picture from her elementary school yearbook!
10. She loves Justin Bieber, but doesn’t have Bieber Fever quite as bad as some of her teammates (ahem, Jordyn Wieber). She dished to NBC, “Of course I’d want to meet him, but I’m probably not as obsessed as some people. I went to the Selena Gomez concert and he appeared. Girls were crying on the floor and I didn’t understand. I was like, ‘why are they crying?’ I didn’t get it.”