Last week, Gymcastic published a lengthy interview with US Olympic gold medalist Mckayla Maroney in which she announced her retirement from the sport.

The American athlete opened up about her relationship with her coaches, their training methods and how it had affected her.


She was coached under Artur Akopyan and Galina Marinova who were elite gymnasts in their younger years. Artur represented the Soviet Union. His career brought him six World medals, two of which are gold. While Galina who is originally Bulgarian, competed at 1980 Olympics.


Maroney praised them for being "the best technical coaches in the whole world" but heavily criticized them for their treatment of their gymnasts which contributed to her mental health problems.


"Mentally they messed me up like so badly" said Maroney. "I love them with all my heart but to speak my truth would it be just like to really say that it did affect me... there is like a better way of doing things"

Maroney fiercely believes that having a healthy mindset is essential in the sport. 


"It all starts with the mindset, it starts with how you look at yourself." 


She said that when at the beginning she was feeling good about herself, she could bear the intense training and everything that goes with it but it became too much for her to handle when she found herself having to deal with bad nutrition, weight issues, pressure in the gym and multiple surgeries.


"I was taught that resting was lazy, resting was you just not trying hard enough. You'd go to the gym and you have something hurt, most gymnasts are used to this, just somebody saying no you are fine and so you believe you are fine"


Maroney recalled when she came back into the gym after 2013 Worlds, she complained to her coaches that she is suffering from a lot of pain, they dismissed her suffering and told her it was because she has gained weight. She then followed her instinct and got an MRI.


The then 18 year old gymnast underwent a fourth surgery on her knee which the doctors considered crucial for her health.


"I had tendinosis in one which was no blood flow in my leg and literally like people have their leg cut off from stuff like that which is like super duper dangerous"

"So I had to get surgery on that and then I also just had tendinitis, like extremely bad tendinitis in this knee and like I was just told I was making that up and i was needed to lose weight."

When her health started to get worse, Maroney thought she was going insane and that she was making that up since everybody was telling her that. They would also tell her that she needed to work harder and eat less.

"In my gym, they always make excuses for pain and it's just a joke."

She revealed that her coaches inflicted their pain on their gymnasts, she would hear them saying "wow she has it easy she gets to go home she has a cell phone.....they get to eat dinner". She was as well complained to by Artur who believes he is cursed for having his gymnasts hurt before meets. 

Nevertheless, Maroney said she understands that they were raised in a "really bad environment" and that they never meant to hurt their gymnasts and that they truly care about them but believes that by this they won't be able to build any champions.

"I love them, they love me, they love their gymnasts" said Maroney. "But... they weren't really helping me in a mental way."



Written by Gigi Farid



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