The KMC gymnastics center was abuzz with the screams, giggles and cheers of young girls last Thursday evening. They were awaiting the arrival of one of their heroes: U.S. Olympic gymnast McKay Maroney.
When she arrived from Philadelphia – a little late because she encountered traffic – a huge roar went up from the crowd, and then a chant: “Kay-la, Kay-la, Kay-la.”
Maroney, 17, was a member of the gold-medal winning U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team in the 2012 Olympics. She is also the 2011 world vault champion and the 2012 Olympic vault silver medalist.
Maroney greeted the girls in groups, posed for pictures, spoke to them briefly and signed autographs.
She paid a visit to the KMC gym along Baltimore Pike because the girls in the club had earned it. They sold more tickets to the U.S. team’s on-tour performance at the Wells Fargo Center than any other group in the region. As a reward, they got Marony’s visit.
They also earned another bonus as well: They got to send 10 of their gymnasts who sold the most tickets to perform at the opening of the U.S. Team show at the center on Friday night. Those who danced from KMC were Majesta Valentine, Hannah Norman, Rachel Lee, Lizzy Bader, Clara Watson, Lia Summerville, Eliza Fantazzi, Leanna Pheffer,Alison Peragine and Macie UnnNguyen.
Norman, who was there for Maroney’s arrival at the gym, said she was excited to see her. “She’s an inspiration,” she said.
Karen Myers, owner of KMC Gymnastics and Dance, said she watched Maroney’s Olympic vaults on television and was amazed how close to perfect they were.
The U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team is touring the United States and giving performances at various venues throughout the nation.