Aly Raisman Earns Spot on U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team

The Needham native will go for gold in Rio.

ALy Raisman

Photo via AP

Aly Raisman is headed to Rio.

The Needham native earned her spot on the U.S. women’s gymnastics team at Olympic trials in San Jose Sunday, joining Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez, Madison Kocian, and Simone Biles.

“I think it just hasn’t really sunk in yet. I cried right after the meet and then when my name was announced,” Raisman said. “By the time we got our jackets on and I waited for the other girls, I stopped crying. [National team coordinator Martha Karolyi] said we have to look happy because last time me and Gabby looked so sad when we went out there, so I tried to really take it in.”

By punching their tickets to Rio, Raisman and Douglas are the first U.S. women’s gymnasts to make two Olympics since Dominique Dawes and Amy Chow did so in 1996 and 2000. Both women won team and individual golds at the London Olympic Games in 2012.

Raisman’s teammates, who range in age from 16 to 20, jokingly refer to the 22-year-old as the team’s grandmother.

“We were joking and I was like, ‘I really am going to live up to my grandma name because I’m going to have a heart attack before they announce the names,’ because I was so nervous. Simone’s like, ‘I know, I’m too young to die.’ I don’t think she realized she had her automatic spot. And she could have fallen 10 times tonight and she still would’ve made the team,” said Raisman.

“That’s the thing about Simone—no matter how successful she is, she always goes for more and works really hard. It says a lot about this team because we’re all trying to squeak out extra tenths and I hope that we live up to our potential in Rio.”

Raisman and the rest of Team USA will seek to defend their gold for the first time in history starting Wednesday, August 3.