Q&A: Aly Raisman
These days, Aly Raisman needs little introduction. After scoring three medals in Londonâ€”including golds for team all-around and her floor exerciseâ€”Needhamâ€™s Olympic hero has joined up with the Kelloggâ€™s Tour of Gymnastics Champions, which swings through the TD Garden on November 11. We caught up with her on the rare day off at home
So when youâ€™re in Needham, what do you like doing?
Right now, Iâ€™m pretty much staying home and resting. I have a photo shoot at my house this morning, and after my sister gets out of school, Iâ€™m going to go bat mitzvah dress-shopping with her. Itâ€™s so much traveling, and I like being in my house because Iâ€™m literally never here.
It doesnâ€™t really make sense that human bodies can flip and move in the air like yours can. Have you always been able to do that?Â
All the skills that I do take years of hard workâ€”it doesnâ€™t come easy. So itâ€™s a lot of conditioning and flexibility andÂ a lot of mental confidence,Â because sometimes Iâ€™m scared to do those skills.
In gymnastics, there are always multiple events going on at once in the arena. How do you tune everything else out?
Well, weâ€™re used to that. Itâ€™s worse when itâ€™s one at a time, because itâ€™s so quiet. I personally like it when itâ€™s a little bit louder, because you donâ€™t feel like everyone in the stands is watching you. Sometimes if youâ€™re too focused on yourself, it makes you overthink everything.
I mean no disrespect here to Kelloggâ€™sâ€”I would never insult Tony the Tigerâ€”but how do you get up for these shows coming off the Olympics?Â
I still get nervous, just because there are a lot of people who come to see us. I still do the floor routine. I want to do a good job and show everybody that I can still do it. Itâ€™s also fun to be out there and just enjoy it and not worry about judges.
Will this be your first time performing back in Boston?
Yeah, I havenâ€™t performed or competed in Boston in a long time, so Iâ€™m really excited about it. Iâ€™m sure a ton of people from Needham will be going, and also my teammates and all of the gymnasts in Boston. So that should be a lot of fun. I wish my school friends were home, but theyâ€™re all at college.
You have no idea how happy you made my mom and all of her nice Jewish friends by doing your floor routine to â€śHava Nagila.â€ť How many cheek pinches have you gotten since then?
I didnâ€™t expect so much support from the Jewish community, so itâ€™s been really exciting. I have a lot of Jewish grandmas coming up to me and acting like Iâ€™m their granddaughter. When I was doing an event at a Jewish Community Center, there was a little kid trying to get my autograph, and then a grandma just came in front and sat there and talked to me and my mom for, like, 10 minutes. I was like, â€śOkay, I donâ€™t really know you.â€ť She kissed us both on the cheek.
How much media training did you go through before the games?
I actually didnâ€™t get any media training. I donâ€™t think I know of anyone who got any. I just try to say things that really mean a lot to me.
Is it weird seeing your name now in all the gossip pages? I think the Herald tried to marry you off to Tyler Seguin at one point.
Yeah, Iâ€™m sure. Everyone thinks that weâ€™re dating, but I havenâ€™t even met him. I actually donâ€™t read that stuff.
Whatâ€™s the strangest thing thatâ€™s happened to you since London?
Guys say really interesting things to me. Theyâ€™ll give me gifts and letters and phone numbers and ask me out on dates. On Twitter, I get marriage proposals. Someone came up to me, he was probably a teenager, and asked me if I prefer strawberries or blueberries. I said strawberries and he goes, â€śOkay, I just wanted to know what to make you with your pancakes in the morning.â€ť So that was pretty creepy.
That is outstandingly creepy. How many marriage proposals are you up to?
Iâ€™ve only gotten one face-to-faceâ€”I got proposed to with a Ring Pop. I said no, but I took the Ring Pop.
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2012/10/interview-aly-raisman-olympic-gymnast/