M Exclusive: We chatted with Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney!


The world class vaulter is going for the gold!

Hey M Girls,

If you watched the U.S. women in the qualifying meet last night, you know that McKayla Maroney or "Air Maroney" as her teammates and fans have called her, is ready to shine at these Olympic Games. She's the 2011 World Vault Champion and last night, posted the highest vault score of the night, meaning she's #1 going into the vault finals, which are later this week.

Before the vault finals, you can catch McKayla and her teammates go for the team gold tomorrow night during the team finals. We can't wait! So want to know more about this 16-year-old gymnast from California, who happens to be on the Olympic team with her childhood friend, Kyla Ross? Check out our exclusive interview below:

M: When did you get your start in gymnastics? McKayla: I started when I was originally 18 months old -- I went to a "mommy & me" class. I started real gymnastics when I was 2 years old because I had this crazy amount of energy and my mom put me in it to take away some of it.

M: What's the hardest part of being a competitive gymnast? McKayla: I think the hardest part is probably going through the injuries because gymnastics is really such a fun sport. The only thing that gets in your way is injuries and I think that would just be the hardest thing for an athlete to overcome.

M: What struggle have you had to overcome now you're proud that you accomplished? McKayla: I used to get really nervous and now I'm a little bit more confident than I used to be. It feels really good to overcome stuff like that because of more experience and more competitions.

M: What do you like to do other than gymnastics? McKayla: I really like to just be with my family and friends. That's like my favorite thing to do because I'm usually in the gym training, so it's really good to go out. I'm from California, so I love to be outside -- we go to the beach and I have a pool in my backyard, so I just love to do normal stuff that regular girls like to do.

M: Who are your favorite singers? McKayla: I really like Katy Perry and Rihanna and of course, Justin Bieber.

Good luck, McKayla!

Meet Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman! Meet Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas! Meet Olympic gymnast Jordyn Wieber!

So let's dish: -Are you guys fans of McKayla Maroney? Which Olympic sport are you loving?

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