Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 8/21/12

McKayla Maroney’s parents are so worried about the safety of their daughter in light of her recent fame they’ve hired bodyguards to look after her.

The 16-year-old gymnast from Long Beach, Calif., won gold in the team competition at the London Olympics, and she also took silver in the vault — a disappointing finish that led to an Internet meme that went viral. Maroney’s success at the Olympics coupled with the online explosion of her meme has led to tremendous notoriety — some of which is unwanted.

“It has been a bit frightening, we have had marriage proposals,” Maroney’s mother, Erin, told the Daily Mail. “My daughter is 16.

“We have hired specialist security guards to make sure McKayla is never on her own. We don’t want another Shawn Johnson situation to happen.”

Johnson won four medals at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and was involved in a frightening situation with a stalker. Her stalker was arrested in 2009 and found guilty of felony stalking and burglary charges. He was arrested by police in a parking lot in Los Angeles waiting for Johnson outside of her “Dancing With the Stars” studio.

“We know there are some fanatical people out there,” Erin Maroney said. “We’ve had prom date requests, you name it. But McKayla handles it great. She just rolls her eyes at it.”

Maroney has signed with a prominent talent agency and is looking forward to possibly doing some modeling and/or fashion work. It seems like she’s embracing the fame, but at the same time it’s probably smart of her family to take precautions when it comes to her safety.

Photo credit: McKayla Maroney/Twitter

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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