PLAYA DEL REY ( — The London Olympics had its fill of heart-stopping and emotional moments.

One of the most dramatic moments came when Long Beach’s own McKayla Maroney nailed a near perfect vault. She helped lead the US Women’s gymnastics team to their first gold medal since the Magnificent Seven in 1996.

Maroney, 16, became an overnight sensation back home. The vault was amazing. She truly captured the hearts of people around the world and made Long Beach proud even after a disappointing silver medal finish in the individual vault competition. Her stare could not hide her disappointment.

“I think it’s kind of funny how things can get out that much just from two seconds of doing something,” she told CBS 2’s Jim Hill.

“I have to live with it and laugh about. At the time I was disappointed with landing on my butt at the Olympics. It wasn’t about getting the silver medal. I was happy with what I had. I just wanted to get the gold and when I heard the national anthem playing and it wasn’t mine, that’s what broke my heart inside.”

The outside matched what she was feeling. Maroney has been receiving an incredible amount of press because of her ‘look.’

A night after appearing on the “Late Show with David Letterman”, Maroney returned home where hundreds of fans were waiting for her at her home gym, The All-Olympia Gymnastics Center In Playa Del Rey.

“This has been the most amazing experience ever. I will never forget any of it. I am so honored and so blessed to have been part of that Olympic team. My words cannot describe how happy I am.”


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