People around the country gathered around their TVs Sunday as the women’s gymnastics team took the floor, including a Connecticut family cheering on a gymnast with ties to Milford.
Family members of McKayla Maroney were decked out in T-shirts with the phrase “Air Maroney” as they cheered on the 16-year-old gymnast as she competed on the vault.
Maroney’s father is a native of Milford.
“It’s very exciting. It’s well-deserved on her part. It’s the culmination of the last seven years. She’s been training for six to eight hours a day,” James Maroney said.
McKaylay’s hard work earned her a 15.8 average score in Sunday’s semifinals, putting her in first place.
Maroney’s story of success is an inspiration to young athletes with dreams of one day competing in the Olympics.
“It takes a lot of hard work and patience, and sometimes it doesn’t always go great and you have to stay focused,” said Mike Smith, a gymnast, who’s also friends with Maroney.
Young gymnasts at Airtime Gymnastics in Enfield said they’ve been training for years and hope to someday get a shot at an Olympic medal.
“It just gets me motivated. … Someday, it’s possible for people here to be doing that,” said Casey Zolltor, 12.
“It’s cool to be able to do some of the stuff that they can do,” said Sarah O’Brien, 13.
As for McKayla Maroney, she’s showing the world what she can do and will compete in the Team USA finals on Tuesday night.