Gymnast McKayla Maroney on Her Latest Career Move: 'I Was Definitely a Little Intimidated!'
McKayla Maroney awards the coveted perfect ten
Gymnast McKayla Maroney is hyped for the Summer Games ... but not quite as you might think.
The gold medal winner will travel to Discovery + on Saturday, July 31st to judge Puppy Bowl Presents: The Summer Games, a competition between five incredible dogs and trainers with a purse of $ 5,000 for the winner's animal charity.
Maroney is joined by dog trainers Travis Borsen and Sara Carson (plus presenter Kym Whitley) at the judges' table and tells PEOPLE that she was "a little intimidated at first" as she prepared for the Games.
"I've never been successful in teaching my own Australian Doddle Prince anything - my little sister Tarynn taught my dog all the tricks he knows," said the 25-year-old. "Fortunately, Sara and Travis were so nice and helpful, which made me feel more comfortable."
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"I got the main goal and just followed my intuition," she adds. "I definitely felt the same pressure that gymnastics judges are likely to have to pick the best winner."
Participants include Border Collie Ricky Bobby and trainer Suzanne Knox, Berna-doodle Yama and trainer Steve Jordan, the Australian shepherd Spyder and trainer Mikayla Morris, the black Lab Bullwinkle and trainer Adam Jorgenson and the Australian shepherd HiYah! and trainer Kelly Culbert.
"Overall, I was just amazed by the cuteness and talent of all the dogs - I loved creating their choreographed routines so much," says Maroney. "But I think my favorite part was the last round when the dogs started playing real tennis with their owner. That was amazing."
Also unbelievable: the gymnasts of Team USA's current Olympic team, including 18-year-old Suni Lee, who won gold in the women's all-around event on July 29th. Maroney says she "watched all of her contests live from my laptop at 3 a.m., cheered them on, and prayed for them all day."
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"It's a tough sport," she adds, "and I just want them all to have a great experience."
But right now she's happy to be on the other side of judgment.
“I had so much fun working with the cast and crew at Summer Games,” she says. "I'm so excited that it's coming out, and I just hope everyone likes it!"
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