Aly Raisman Is Hitting Her Stride Leading into Rio Olympics

The Needham native took second place at the U.S. gymnastics championships.

ALy Raisman

Photo by Jeff Roberson / AP

Aly Raisman is surging in the lead into the upcoming Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The Needham native came in second place at the U.S. gymnastics championships in St. Louis over the weekend. Raisman was less than four points behind 19-year-old phenom Simone Biles, who won her fourth straight national gymnastics title at the event.

The first place finish by Biles secured her spot on the five-woman Olympic team. The rest of the group will be filled out during a selection process in San Jose, California, in two weeks.

Raisman, a former Olympic gold medalist, made her case for a trip to Rio with a strong showing at nationals.

According to the Associated Press, the Massachusetts-born gymnastics star was struggling with her form at the start of the year after she failed to qualify for the all-around final at the 2015 world championships. She finished behind Biles and defending Olympic champion Gabby Douglas during the qualifying round.

Raisman seems to be back on track, though, as many are calling her performances at nationals over the weekend the best two days of her career.

“I think that I am better (than I was four years ago),” Raisman told the AP. “And I feel like I’m on track to be a better gymnast than I was.”

Perhaps her recent chat with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady gave Raisman the boost she needed to go on a surge. The 22-year-old Olympian recently told the AP that Brady gave her a reality check over being too old for gymnastics.

“I was like, ‘I’m too old,’” Raisman said. “Tom said, ‘No. You’re not.’ And it’s like, when quarterbacks win the Super Bowl, they don’t ask them if they’re done.’”