McKayla Maroney vault United States 2012 Olympics London Not Impressed
We are all impressed. (Photo: The White House/Wikimedia Common)

My ‘Outside’ Moment of the Year: McKayla Maroney’s Vault

Outside, inside, gravity, space, time, whatever: this thing transcended every boundary

McKayla Maroney vault United States 2012 Olympics London Not Impressed
The White House/Wikimedia Common(Photo)
Ryan O'Hanlon

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We asked our fellow staffers for their favorite Outside moments of the year, and we want to hear yours, too. In the comments, tell us what moved you, what mattered to you, and what moment stood out most.


McKayla Maroney reaches down and chalks up her hands. She’s wearing a red, standard-glitter leotard, and her hair’s up in some kind of half-assed bun. She presents herself up to the crowd—hands up over her head, feet tilted to her toes, smiling because you have to. Then she steps onto the runway. It looks likes she’s brushing away something, excess chalk residue maybe, but she eventually sets her feet, takes one last big breath, and checks her hands. Then she’s off, bounding toward the vault. She starts to flip and….

The Earth’s off its orbit, and the whole planet is just bouncing around the universe. Dogs and cats are giving birth to human children. Volcanoes are shooting out fully-cooked Christmas hams. There’s a bear driving a John Deere mower across the Atlantic Ocean. You throw a football and a sentient tree catches it, puts his arm around you, and tells you what the dinosaurs were like. Someone clicks a fax machine, the Nile River drips out the sides, and Cleopatra gives him a kiss. Then it all vibrates, and now it’s dark. 

Then, it’s bright again. And she’s standing there, arms up, again on her toes. She faces the crowd, then turns to face the judges, twirls her hand, and presents herself once more. She’s smiling again, but this time she definitely wants to—and you’re smiling too because you have no idea what just happened, but you’re still here, and whatever that was: it will never happen again.

(The real best moment was Gabby Douglas winning gold, but I can't say it any better than this.)

Lead Photo: The White House/Wikimedia Common