Just a year and change after an expression of disappointment at the 2012 London Olympics made her one of the games' most recognized players, McKayla Maroney sprung back to the top of the podium on Oct. 5 by winning the vault gold medal at the 2013 World Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, Belgium.
With a 15.724 two-vault average, Maroney, 17, bested U.S. teammate Simone Biles to defend her world championship title. Biles, who claimed the women's all-around title on Oct. 4, finished just .129 point behind to take the silver. North Korea's Hong Un Jong finished in bronze position.
Maroney, who entered the London Games heavily favored to win gold in her signature event, suffered an uncharacteristic slip during the finals that left her in silver medal position behind surprise winner Sandra Izbasa of Romania. A momentary expression of teenage frustration was captured on film during the podium ceremony, giving birth to the popular "McKayla is not impressed" internet meme.
London Games teammate Aly Raisman congratulated Maroney on her redemptive win via Twitter shortly after the event concluded, writing "VAULT WORLD CHAMPION!!! YOU GO GIRL."
Although several years remain before the 2016 Rio Games, Maroney hopes to be healthy enough to once again go for gold.
The 2013 World Championships conclude Oct. 6 with the last of the individual apparatus finals.