Aly Raisman is nothing short of an amazing gymnast. She won the hearts of millions when she performed her spectacular routines during the 2012 London Olympics. At age 18, she is the oldest member of the “fab five” (or “fierce five”, either title will do) and was made team captain, a title that she rightly deserved.
Alexandra Raisman may have been somewhat unknown before the Olympic trials. She is a girl from Needham, Massachusetts, and the pride of our state and her particular town. This is how her journey to becoming one of the world’s best gymnasts began…
Aly was born on May 25, 1994. She started gymnastics in 1996 at age 2 when her mother took her to “Mommy and Me”; she never stopped doing the sport since.
Raisman has been though years of strenuous training in the gym by the world’s best trainers. Aly started her gymnastics career at Exxcel Gymnastics in Newton Massachusetts. She was trained by Alex Toumilovich, who was part of the USSR men’s national gymnastics team that won gold in 1985. Alex immediately spotted talent from this amazing young girl. She had strong goals and knew exactly how to reach those goals; through hard work and dedication.
Raisman then moved to Brestyan’s American Gymnastics when two of her coaches from Exxcel decided to move there as well. Aly, dedicated and determined as always, decided to take a chance to train at that gym in order to fulfill her goals of becoming the best gymnast she could be. Her coach Mihai Brestyan, and his wife Sylvia from Romania, had great goals for Aly.
Alicia Sacramone, member of the 2008 Olympic gymnastics team, was already at that gym. Aly trained with Alicia for about eight years and became a role model to Aly. Aly’s time to shine was soon to come. Unfortunately, Sacramone tore her Achilles tendon during the 2011 World Championships, a devastating time for Alicia and her team. Aly stepped in for Alicia and helped the U.S. win team gold, with a hurt ankle, and earned a bronze medal herself for her individual floor exercise. This was the start of Raisman’s journey to becoming recognized as being one of the best gymnasts the sport has ever seen.
Aly trained hard for many years; 5-7 hours a day of training 6 days a week all year round. All that hard work and several training sessions later, Aly was given the opportunity to sign with sports agent Peter Carlisle’s Octagon agency and become a professional athlete. She ultimately passed up a full scholarship at the University of Florida. She hadn’t won an Olympic medal yet or been on an Olympic team and was given this opportunity which showed she had true potential, and genuine skill in gymnastics.
Aly showed her true potential and dominated in the 2012 Visa Championships in St. Louis, winning first on beam and floor and third all-around. In the US Olympic trials in San Jose, California, Raisman wowed millions and again won first in beam and floor and 3rd in all-around. She was a gymnast who was somewhat overlooked and not as popular but was making her way in the world of gymnastics, slowly but surely. Then came the Olympics. Watching Aly’s routines, especially during the team finals, was indescribable. She had so much talent just waiting to be released during her time on the events that she competed.
Aly and her teammates dominated during the team finals. They didn’t miss a beat, didn’t miss a step. Flawless routines were made one after another. Jordyn Wieber, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, Kyla Ross and McKayla Maroney all did their part in helping their team to the top of the podium. Aly was chosen to compete on only floor and beam, both events that she has excelled at. Aly’s performance on beam was absolutely flawless.
By the end of the competition, floor was the only event left in the rotation. Aly performed last on floor. Her routine was amazing, impeccable, and absolute perfection. The smile on her face said it all when she finished her last big tumbling pass. She was relieved and knew that she had just performed one of the best floor routines of her career. Her team-high score of 15.300 helped her team win gold that day during team finals.
Aly’s scores also allowed her to qualify to compete in the individual all-around competition with teammate Gabby Douglas. Unfortunately, the all-around competition was somewhat of a disappointment for Aly and her fans. She faltered a bit which left her tied for bronze with Russian gymnast Aliya Mustafina, which she ultimately lost in the end.
But, all was not lost yet for Aly. During event finals, she became the first American ever to win gold on floor exercise and went to win bronze on beam; though her bronze on beam was not won without some drama in the gymnastics arena. Her original score of 14.966 was lower than normal. Her coach appealed the score, which never usually ends up working out in the favor of the gymnast. The judges ended up bumping up her difficulty score to a 6.3 which tied her with Romania’s Catalina Ponor at 15.066. Aly ultimately won the medal for better execution.
Aly won 3 medals at the Olympics, 2 of them being gold. She is an amazing gymnast and a team player. Her routines and executions of those routines will forever be remembered by her fans and by everyone who watched the London 2012 Olympics. She is the pride of Massachusetts and an exemplary role model for all those who are looking to reach a dream that may seem impossible or unreachable. Because being an Olympian, and an amazing one at that, Aly made the impossible, possible.
Fun facts about Aly Raisman:
Her favorite subject in school is English. She loves to shop, spend time with family and friends, and do hot yoga. She loves Hip Hop music and R&B. Her favorite book is The Pact by Jodi Picoult and her favorite TV shows are Pretty Little Liars, The Ringer, and Dance Moms. Her favorite foods are watermelon and yogurt.