LONDON – United States gymnastic star McKayla Maroney is icing her right foot after participating in light conditioning work on Monday.
Maroney is a huge favorite to win the vault competition and is a key member of the U.S. team that hopes to clinch Olympic gold. Concerns arose about her health after she did only limited work on the uneven bars and a brief dance practice.
USA Gymnastics officials said Maroney was suffering from some mild discomfort and is being treated with ice and rest.
If Maroney is limited by an injury, it would be a significant blow to the Americans. Her performances on the vault have been nothing short of outstanding.
The 16-year-old from Southern California has perfected her signature move, the 2½-twisting Amanar vault, which clinched the gold medal at last year's world championships.
This is not the first time Maroney has made team coaches nervous. She also sustained a mild concussion and a fractured nose during an accident while warming up at the U.S. championships.
Unless Maroney has significantly injured her ankle or knee, she should be able to compete without much difficulty, 1996 gold medalist Shannon Miller said.
"Gymnasts are used to competing through the pain barrier and that is not something that would stand in her way," Miller said. "Remember Kerri Strug in Atlanta, she was able to come through despite being in a lot of pain. Once you are in the heat of competition, you don’t really notice it, however much it hurts.
“The only real worry would be if she had something really serious, like a problem with her knee that would affect how much weight it could bear. Otherwise, she should be good to go.”
A team photograph that appeared to show Maroney with her foot wrapped led to further worries among fans that the issue may be more serious – especially as she looked to be positioning herself so that the taping was hidden. If any U.S. women's gymnast is unable to compete because of injury, the first alternate is Elizabeth Price, who is training away from the team in suburban London.
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The U.S. squad is considered to be the deepest of any team competing at the Games and has a strong chance to win the team title for the first time since 1996, a team that included Miller and Strug.
Jordyn Wieber and Gabby Douglas head up the team, which seems to have peaked at the right time.
"I have got a very feel about all of them," U.S. gymnastics coordinator and legendary coach Marta Karolyi said. "They are young but aggressive, and we are definitely going for a place on the podium."
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