Pres. Obama meets with the ‘Fierce 5′, is ‘not impressed’ with McKayla Maroney

Have you ever been on the official White House Flikr page? It’s amazing. I could totally waste hours on there, looking through photos of the first family (and the Biden family too). Anyway, on Thursday Pres. Obama finally met with the “Fierce Five” – the girl gymnasts who won Team Gold at the Olympics in August. Pres. Obama never did make it to the London Olympics (I was disappointed… Pres. Bush managed to make it to the Beijing Olympics!), so Michelle was sent to cheer on Team USA. Thus, Michelle had already met these young ladies a few times, but finally (months later) Pres. Obama got to meet all of them. The White House posted a nice photo on Flickr of the young women in the Oval Office with Pres. Obama looking engaged with them, but then Obama and McKayla Maroney posed for one silly pic – Obama does the “McKayla is Unimpressed” meme.

President Barack Obama is not impressed — and he has a pretty funny way of showing it! Team USA’s Fierce Five Olympic gymnastics team — including McKayla Maroney, Kyla Ross, Jordyn Wieber, Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas — reunited in Washington, D.C. Nov. 15 for an audience with none other than President Obama. “All together again!! FIERCE 5 reunited. So good being back with my best friends,” Maroney, 16, tweeted Thursday.

When meeting Obama, 51, in the Oval Office, Maroney kidded around with the Commander-in-Chief and got him to mimic her “not impressed” expression that was all the rage this summer during the London Games.

“Did I just do the Not Impressed face with the President . . . ?” Maroney tweeted to her 481,000 Twitter followers. Later, the White House posted photographic proof to their Flickr page that Obama did indeed get in on the fun and impersonate the look the athlete had on her face after receiving the silver medal in the Olympic women’s vault competition August 5.

Maroney has had quite a ride since becoming an Olympic champion and household name earlier this year. In August, Us Weekly surprised her and her teammates with a visit from Gossip Girl’s Chace Crawford at our New York City offices, she bonded with Ashley Benson and Lucy Hale on the L.A. set of Pretty Little Liars and even got to attend the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards with her teammates.

[From Us Weekly]

Am I the only one who was not impressed with McKayla overall? Granted, Gabby Douglas got most of the attention, and she deserved most of the attention, but I thought McKayla was honestly being very unsportsmanlike and bitchy when she faltered on her routines. I hate that McKayla’s behavior was read as somehow “cute” when it was just rude. As for Obama doing “The McKayla” – sure. It’s cute.

Photos courtesy of the White House Flickr page.

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80 Responses to “Pres. Obama meets with the ‘Fierce 5′, is ‘not impressed’ with McKayla Maroney”

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  1. Lizzie says:

    I don’t know if she was unsportsmanlike, she did such an amazing vault in the vault heats (the gifs are amazing!) and then falling in the final, she was annoyed. She’s 16 and a vault specialist. I’m not sure she could hide her feelings that well. I’d probably cry like a baby.

    • Lishka says:

      I agree, she’s 16 for crying out loud…heck, at 36, even I find it hard to hide disappointment on my face, I think she needs to be cut some slack!

    • Annie says:

      I disagree. Winning is never guaranteed and a gold medal is about peaking at the right time and pulling out the best performance on the day. I don’t care how old she is, being gracious in defeat is what makes a true sportsperson and she doesn’t have the maturity to do that perhaps she shouldn’t be at the Olympics. Her attitude suggested that she thought she ‘deserved’ to win, which was disrespectful to the other competitors.

      I thought the Russian gymnast who took silver in the all around had an equally bad attitude – crying at silver when most Olympic competitors would be delighted to get a medal of any colour.

      • Sachi says:

        To be fair, though, most of these girls are not just teenagers who suddenly decided to take on gymnastics one morning. Most of them have been training all their lives, with their ultimate dream being the Olympics and winning a medal is the cherry on top. As Gabby’s move to Iowa would show, it takes a lot to be a gymnast aspiring to be an Olympian, and I don’t mean the finances only.

        These girls’ bodies must have undergone a lot of pressure, strain, pain, etc to endure and continue. Considering that most of them have their careers over by 18-20 years old, it’s not hard to imagine why they cry so hard when they fail to live up to their own standards/people’s expectations. Add to that the enormous amount of pressure on their shoulders and you have some tears and scowling in the works. Many teenagers and adults wouldn’t have been able to do what these girls did, so who knows if one can truly be gracious at all times? Sobbing and scowling, IMO, are restrained reactions.

        I think they’re angrier at themselves rather than being rude to their competitors.

  2. hairball says:

    She actually really annoyed me. I was sorry too that her b*tch look became the rage. B*tch looks from high schoolers are a dime a dozen and I don’t need to see it at the Olympics.

    • Chrissie Malcolm says:

      I’m with you “hairball”! That kind of precocious, over-confident behaviour is never attractive and certainly should not be encouraged. Now that the President has validated her nonsense she’ll be pulling that face all over the place and expecting results. Let’s hope maturity improves this young lady’s demeanour.

    • flan says:

      Guys often just scream or roar when they’re pissed at a sports event (if not rage and swear). A French soccer player actually headbutted someone at the worldcup final 6 years back and that was made plenty of fun of by his president and gif-makers all over the world.

      This face is not nearly as bad.

      She did an awesome thing with that earlier vault, so I can understand why she was messed up after that. Gymnasts usually only have one or two Olympics to shine and she’ll be 20 at the next one….

      • Amy says:

        Yeah that was Zidane. The Italian player, Materazzi, insulted Zidane’s Arab ancestry (guy was born in France but has Algerian parents) and also insulted either his mother or sister with some racial slur. Zidane lost his cool and headbutted him and was subsequently given a red card, sending him off the pitch and ending his career. It was too bad he couldn’t keep it together, because that was also his last game as a soccer player before he retired. However one stupid moment doesn’t define Zidane’s career. The guy was one of the most talented soccer players of the present generation and most people know that.

        That incident also turned me off to the Italian team forever lol. I apologize to any Italian soccer fans…

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        My cat was named after Zinedine Zidane (Zizou). I love him and I HATE the Italian soccer team with a passion!

        And +1,000,000 to everything you said. I think people in EU will always remember Ziane for his CAREER while mots in the US will remember him as “the guy that head-butted Italy”.

      • flan says:

        “However one stupid moment doesn’t define Zidane’s career.”

        Exactly, as it shouldn’t define McKayla’s.

        And who doesn’t hate the Italian soccer team ;)

    • Malificent says:

      If we don’t want people to behave like high schoolers at the Olympics, then we shouldn’t send high schoolers to the Olympics.

      I don’t think children that this age should be put under this amount of pressure. It’s one think to build a child’s character teaching them to challenge themselves, but it’s another thing entirely to put children in competition and stress at an Olympic level because they happen to be at their physical peak for that sport. No sport is worth doing that to a young person.

      • TrustMeOnThis says:

        Well said. I think the look mostly meant she was disappointed with herself for making a small slipup that cost her the gold. For a 16 year old, I think she showed remarkable composure. Then it got splashed all over the internet, so what is there to do but go along with it? The Daily Fail totally ripped on her for it. What choice did she have after that, but to own it?

      • guilty pleasures says:

        While I respect your right to your opinion I disagree. I was an elite athlete, my kids are elite athletes, my first husband was a professional athlete and my current husband the most elite of us all. We all competed at the highest levels we could achieve, with Olymics, Wimbledon, pro football and World cups between us.
        We are all fit, try to achieve at our best levels still, are not damaged by the pressures we put on ourselves, and are, in my opinion, richer for our experiences, not to mention the educations we all achieved as a direct result of our tenacity.
        Mediocrity is easy, decrying the stress of trying one’s best is not in my lexicon.

    • Marla says:

      Too bad… Choke on it, hairball ! I couldn’t resist.

    • Phil E Stein says:

      Yeah it’s a bit unoriginal. Jade from Victorious already owns that schtick.

  3. Heather says:

    She’s a kid, hiding emotions is hard with all the raging hormones.

  4. hairball says:

    Thanks for the Flickr link – had no idea. Love it!

  5. spinner says:

    Good job of rewarding her sore loser bad attitude. This is not good.

  6. L says:

    I got McKayla being disappointed with the silver. A quick snap shot of her face with a expression? Doesn’t seem that bad to me. A sore loser would have continued to be upset, getting upset for 5 minutes in the moment isn’t being a sore loser to me. A picture of that is expected from a athlete and tells the story.

    Compared to the Russian girls throughout the overall and the individual events? Crying, pouting, refusing to shake hands etc? BOTH the russian girls who finished second/third in the overall were crying, pouting, and had sour expressions the entire medal ceremony (not to mention during the competition itself) The team competition was even worse, not to mention how that team treated each other, let alone how they reacted to other teams.

    I give them all a pass for being stressed out 15 year old girls though, even though it annoyed me at the time.

    • Victoria1 says:

      Yea I was thinking about those Russians who had a complete meltdown and yet has there been criticism over their behavior?

    • Nur says:

      First of all, I wanna clarify that I have nothing to do with Russia or former Soviet states nor am I American. But I simply had to comment as an outsider. The so called spoiled babies, actual names Komova and Mustafina, have not pouted all through olympics. The one who cried was Komova, after losing the gold medal on AA on the final event. Mustafina didnt shed a tear nor did she pout. She was her usual self, concentrated and cool. If that counts as a spoiled baby in elite sports, well then probably 90% of athletes are spoiled babies. If one bothers to read their interviews after the AA, they only speak highly of Gabby and told the press she deserved to win cos she was simply the best. From what I saw, they did not refuse to shake hands either, I only saw Komova in despair when Gabby came over to shake hands. I doubt she even noticed her in all the commotion around her. The fact that some American media and viewers are so quick to dismiss and judge the competition and other cultures is why we in the rest of the world have trouble respecting Americans.
      Coming to Maroney, I think her dismissive face during the medals was not nice but she obviously made a mistake and she was easy going enough to turn it into a joke afterwards. Even if one would classify that as immature, I think the fact that a president can easily continue the joke and be willing to take that photo is simply awesome.

  7. Ms Kay says:

    I get that she’s young and couldn’t hide her emotions but that Not Impressed look has nothing to be celebrated about so it is beyond my understanding.. Better yet high five the middle finger and POTUS shall follow too?

  8. lena80 says:

    These girls worked/trained hard their ENTIRE lives to get to the Olympics. If McKayla, a 15 yr old at the time I believe, wants to give a “bitch” face for not winning gold she’s more than entitled to. It amazes me that grown ass men can act like animals at sporting events and it’s rarely talked about but let a kid that gives a scowl because she didn’t win what she trained for her entire life is defined as giving “bitch” face.

    • apsutter says:

      +1. I just commented the same thing downthread. These kids literally get one chance if they’re lucky and have the right to be disappointed. This entire Olympics annoyed the crap out of me the way NBC was exploiting the girls emotions as well. When Jordan didn’t make it into the all around and they were interviewing Aly directly in front of a weeping Jordy. They always set up the Russian girls as bitches too when really they’re just dedicated and get angry at themselves when they screw up.

      • CC says:

        NBC always has the worst coverage, bar none, you can check the 1996 all around on youtube and see for yourself. Same horror back then, and yea, same thing, exploiting emotions, oddly enough, the US team’s failures on that competition, they actually recorded the coaches trying to console them, their actual words to them. UGH>

    • katielouisiana says:

      Yes-everything you said. Great comment.

  9. Mimi says:

    I think it’s fantastic that she has a sense of humor about it, and that Obama does too.

  10. JankyWhiteGirl says:

    I remember what it’s like to be a surly teanager, but I still had manners. Why are people supporting this behavior? Because other teams/countries act like sore loses? She still has plenty of years to return to the Olympics. Sorry, but her attitude shouldn’t get a pass for being young. The world is watching. So many atheletes would kill to receive a silver medal they worked & sacrificed (sp?) just as much as she did. Making jokes about it does not make her attitude alright. It makes her all the more annoying. She needs to grow the f*ck up! She is not cute, despite how good of an athelete she may be.

    • spinner says:


      But just watch how many people will make excuses for her behavior. If she can train for years with unswerving discipline, she can certainly control what ends up on her face.

      • JankyWhiteGirl says:

        @ Spinner, ITA. If I acted like that & then got celebrated for it, my momma would bitch slap me into next week, no matter how old I was.

      • Danziger says:

        Oh excuse me. I’ve done gymnastics, and I can tell you the inside pressure is insane. Absolutely insane. This isn’t a joke, and tell you what, every single pro gymnast you ever meet, is insanely determined, driven, a perfectionist. And if you’ve trained so hard for this one event for years, and you fail… damn it hurts. It hurts the people who invested their time in you and who you let down, and yourself, because you weren’t good enough and you might not get another chance. And she’s a teenager. For all I care she could’ve thrown a massive tantrum.

        The world of gymnasts (and similarly, ballet dancers by the way) is insanely competitive. In fact, call me crazy, and maybe I am from my insider years, but a gymnast in Olympics, who loses and shows little to no emotion about it, didn’t just care, or never tried hard enough.
        Yes. That may seem mental to an outsider, but consider this – gymnasts start at ages 4 to 6 the latest. It’s all she knows. And then this happens.

        Right. I’m slowly backing away now.

      • guilty pleasures says:

        Hear, hear. I commented upthread my support for elite athletics, I neglected to mention that my first sport was gymnastics…3-5 hours a day in the gym from the age of 8 forward (at 4-7 years old the hours are shorter!).
        I LOVED it, thrived on the pressure, loved my teammates and coaches and grew such intestinal fortitude for which I am ever thankful.
        Making a face is being decried here? It is ALL I can do not to challenge these people in asking what they have EVER excelled at? If they have EVER shot for the moon? If they have EVER put actual BLOOD into the endeavor, come up short, and wandered away all blase?
        I can’t even take them seriously. I have a story about a group of women at work who all talked about how glad they were about sports day being eliminated at school so all of the kids could be equal, I lost my mind in my ensuing rant about mediocrity, obesity, complacency, sense of entitlement, etc, all arising out of a lack of effort and competition.
        **Breathe, march on!

    • Merritt says:

      She made a face end of story. Why are you, repeatedly, acting as though she did more than that.

      She didn’t rant and rage. Which you seem to be doing quite a bit of here. She didn’t insult anyone.

      She was disappointed that she made a mistake and made a face. If anyone needs to grow up it is the people complaining that a teenager made a face. If all a teenager does is make a face, than there isn’t much to be complaining about.

  11. HannahF says:

    Everyone in the world told her that she was absolutely going to win the gold medal and then in a split second the gold medal was gone. Despite the honest emotion showing on her face during the medal ceremony, in every interview I saw with or read about Mykayla she was extremely gracious.

    She joked about her face of frustration and the frustration of not performing her best. AND, she mentioned that winning a silver was still amazing. I saw interviews with the girls where their responses had obviously been coached by a PR person. In Mykayla’s interviews on this subject she seemed believable.

    One last thing…. I interpreted this face as Mykayla being annoyed with herself for screwing up. I think that not enough time passed between the event and the medal ceremony for her to regain her composure.

  12. Hope says:

    I thought her being “unimpressed” at the time wasn’t necessarily unsportsmanlike, I thought is showed a very driven young girl disappointed with the results and upset at herself for not achieving gold. That and teenagers wear their hearts on their sleeve. You should have seen me at the same age when the cast list went up for the school play. Or when my bad@ss essays were met with a hearty B instead of my intended A+. I did a lot more than pull faces. Just sayin’ I think girlfriend was shooting for the stars and anything less, in her eyes, wasn’t good enough and she was angry with herself.

  13. Janet says:

    That picture cracked me up. President Obama has two daughters so he probably gets that look all the time.

  14. Kleo says:

    Huh. To me she looks like a younger Kate Middleton, except prettier, I think.

  15. judyjudy says:

    I thought she was very sweet and I enjoyed watching her at the Olympics. I kind of think she has a naturally bitchy face that comes across more harshly than she means for it to. My features give me a naturally bitchy look, too. People often assume I’m passed when I’m actually happy and singing about rainbows in my head. For reals . So I really don’t think this girl was as bratty as she may have come across to some.

  16. Talie says:

    McKayla was definitely rude, but in this age of Tumblr which worships queen bitch behavior in movies like Heathers, Mean Girls, etc…she found her audience.

  17. GrandPoobah says:

    I didn’t have any issues with her ‘not impressed’ face. I saw it as as sour irritation with herself and she’s a teenager-what teen is able to 100% keep their emotions in line at all times? It was a highly emotional time for her-I’m glad that all she did was make a sour face and not scream or cry.

    Beside that, she’s well aware that (some) people thought it was immature. Now it’s just a joke.

    The President looks hilarious. I love how he’s cool with being goofy. I think it’s because he has young children.

  18. JankyWhiteGirl says:

    If I had acted like that & was rewarded for it, my mamma would bitch slap me into next week, no matter how old I was.

  19. Michelle says:

    As a former gymnast, I can say unequivocally that there’s a lot of pressure from within the sport to be tough and to not show your emotions. She looked to me like she was trying not to cry; a move I pulled many a time at that age. And I think she was totally not impressed with herself/her own performance.

  20. apsutter says:

    I’m completely sick and tired of people bitching about gymnasts being upset when they don’t win. They work incredibly hard 8 hours/7 days a week for this one goal. I would think it weird for them to not be upset at losing. Funny, I don’t hear people complaining and calling professional footballers, basketball players, and baseball players whiners for being upset at a loss. And those are people who are paid for their sport. These girls usually only get 1 shot at Olympic gold.

  21. lrm says:

    the Presidential office is not a celebrity office, a nd I hope we never confuse the two….
    While ppl may appreciate a ‘hip’ president as more ‘relevant’ to some….as Louis Black says: ‘Fun to have a drink with, should NEVER be on your list of criteria for voting someone into office.’

    Then again, he also says the only thing worse than democrats and republicans, is “when these pr*cks work together! The republican says: I have a sh*tty idea; the democrat says: I can make it shit*ier!”
    Love Louis Black….

    Personally, I’m not sure we need to see pics of the first family and vice prez. family….some things are meant to be private, and while people are touting this as making him more accessible, i think it’s manipulative and slowly deepends our belief that we must overshare to be accessible and successful. dangerous. And, it distracts ppl from considering real world issues. I don’t need to know what our president watches on TV, his favorite show,e tc.

    Remember when Carla Brunei was pregnant: ‘No, i will not be featuring my baby on a magazine cover; the french people do not want to know what my baby looks like-they are not interested.’ This is appropriate, IMO. sigh.

  22. stephanie says:

    I give mckayla a pass. She’s 16. She spent her whole life working for one of two fifteen second moments, and by fluke botched the second one (or was it the first one?) whatever, I’d be completely crushed.

  23. truthful says:

    ANNOYING, its not cute PERIOD.

    that’s the problem, folks always make excuses for teen behavior and then when it turns to pure bitch, everyone wants to know what happened.

    I’d prefer to ignore that whole facial expression thing and focus on her doing a good job anyway–whether she can appreciate the opporunity or not.

    check on her tude in 10 yrs and see if its still a pass.

  24. JankyWhiteGirl says:

    I think everone on this thread has worked their butts off & have had epic failures as well as success. Difference is we didn’t have a public forum to judge us. Saying that people who aren’t atheletes or any stressful challenging work/desire etc.) are jealous or haven’t strived hard & failed is insulting. I do admire Olympians who work hard. Just saying that celebrating her “look” b/c she is young & under so much stress is b.s. If you can’t handle failure, then STFU & let someone who has class enough to at least fake appreciation (not just b/c they’re young) have a forum. Trust me, no one is jealous of high achievers. Also, my ex-boyfriend is a PhD in archaeology & he worked his ass off for years w/many ups & downs, yet he remained positive & kept classy thru all the harships he faced. Rant over.

    • guilty pleasures says:

      I am so impressed that your ex obtained a phd in archaeology, but your ensuing comment about how graceful and full of largesse he always was is silly. Literally millions of people have degrees, it’s not that hard, just pay your money and be tenacious. It’s not the same thing as what elite competitors do, any competition for an academic is not on public display, and no one knows their names outside a very tiny circle. And I will bet you he had moments of meltdown during stressful times, just no one cared to take his picture and post it as his being a crybaby.
      I still believe that people who have negative comments about this little ‘face’ this young woman made are jealous, non-competitors, and small minded.
      Your argument is specious, but thanks for playing.

  25. EscapedConvent says:

    I’m glad to have a President with a sense of humor. I like that he cracks jokes at himself, makes fun of his own ears, & can sing a line of “Let’s Stay Together” & laugh about it.

    I would love it if silliness were taken more seriously.

  26. Phil E Stein says:

    Humble in victory and gracious in defeat is the way to go.

  27. flan says:

    What did these five girls do? They got gold on the Olympics, because of their amazing athletic abilities.

    What does everyone talk about?
    McKayla’s disappointed face when she won the silver for herself, and Gabby Douglas’s hair. Because god forbid that a black girl looks like that.

    Sexism and racism all over the place.

    And yes, a big part of this is sexism. Look at the replies to comment 2. Mention a male sportsman who was a) older, b) did something worse than pulling a face , which c) might have cost his country the world cup title and he is immediately defended. And it is said that his mistake should not define his career. Same goes for McKayla, who did in no way risk the success of her team.

    Reminds me of that Russian female sharpshooter in WWII, who shot hundred of enemies, but was baffled when she got to the US and got asked mostly about her non-feminine attire.

  28. Mimi says:

    Yes, THIS! ^^ Great post, Flan.

  29. Merritt says:

    Seriously she made a face and is all of the sudden she “unsportsmanlike and bitchy”.

    She has owned the face and been polite in every interview I have seen of her.

    This sort of criticism should be reserved for those who through massive temper tantrums or exhibit ridiculous behavior after a loss. For example the massive crying campaign that Sale/Pelltier went on in in 2002. Or Plushenko in 2010.

  30. natalina says:

    we have a stupid president

  31. DeltaJuliet says:

    It’s funny, I never took this face as being not impressed. Probably because I make this exact same face when I am trying not to cry in front of a bunch of people, and I am WELL OVER 16. I think people blew it way out of proportion.