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Interview with Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman

Olympic gold medalist (and captain of the Fierce Five) Aly Raisman talks about growing up as a competitive gymnast.

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    Aly Raisman at 92Y's Gymnastics Studio in the Sky

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    Aly Raisman at 92Y's Gymnastics Studio in the Sky

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    Aly Raisman at 92Y's Gymnastics Studio in the Sky

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    Aly Raisman at 92Y's Gymnastics Studio in the Sky

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    Aly Raisman at 92Y's Gymnastics Studio in the Sky

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    Aly Raisman at 92Y's Gymnastics Studio in the Sky

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    Aly Raisman at 92Y's Gymnastics Studio in the Sky

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    Aly Raisman at 92Y's Gymnastics Studio in the Sky

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    Aly Raisman at 92Y's Gymnastics Studio in the Sky

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    Aly Raisman at 92Y's Gymnastics Studio in the Sky

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    Aly Raisman at 92Y's Gymnastics Studio in the Sky

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    Aly Raisman at 92Y's Gymnastics Studio in the Sky

Photograph: Filip Wolak

Aly Raisman at 92Y's Gymnastics Studio in the Sky


Most kids don’t expect to be at the top of their chosen field by the time they’re legal to vote, but Olympic gold medalist (actually, she has two, as well as a bronze) Aly Raisman offers a reminder of the incredible things young people can accomplish with a little—okay, a lot!—of dedication. We chatted with the now 19-year-old at the opening celebration for 92Y’s Gymnastics Studio in the Sky, where she discussed the 2012 London Games, her stint on reality TV (she made it to the final round of Dancing With the Stars earlier this year) and her advice for aspiring Olympians.

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What was it like growing up as a gymnast?
I always just loved gymnastics. It was my favorite sport in the world and so I always looked forward to going to the gym. I’ve really always had a passion for it.

How often were you at the gym?
Oh my god, I was there six days a week. It’s like a full time job. You practically live there. I spend more time with my coaches than I do with my parents.

How did you fit school into your schedule?
I did regular public school. I did all my core classes at school and electives online, so I did half and half. Then I took my senior year off of high school because that was the year before the Olympics and I did stuff online.

What was it like going to the Olympics?
I think it’s just hard to describe it. It was amazing. It was, of course a lot of pressure and very nerve-wracking leading up to it but then once you get there, you just feel really prepared because you’ve worked so hard for it. It feels good and just so worth it—all those hours and hours of hard work.

You were recently on Dancing with the Stars. What was that experience like?
It was such a challenge and it was so out of my comfort zone. It was something I’ve never done before but I really loved it. I think it was like, life changing and I’m so happy I did it. I think it will help me in my gymnastics and I’ll have something else in my floor routine to bring from the show, so I’m looking forward to it and I can’t wait to compete again.

Are you still practicing as much as you were before?

Well, I took a whole year off but now I’m back training, so I’m slowly getting back into it. But I can’t do full-tilt or otherwise it just won’t work. That’d be impossible, so I’m just slowly getting back into it.

Do you have any advice for young gymnasts?
Just to have fun. I can see these girls, they’re running around and they love it, and that’s the most important thing. You can’t be successful in anything if you don’t truly love it or if you don’t have a passion for it. So just stay positive and have fun.


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