Friday night, the world tuned in to watch the opening ceremonies of the 2012 summer Olympics in London. The ceremony featured the arrivals of hundreds of athletes, ready to compete against athletes from other countries, all the while representing their own.
Aly Raisman came to the Olympics to compete with her team, do her best, and hope that all of her training and hard work would pay off in the end with some sort of medal. The 18-year-old U.S. Olympic team captain is the team’s oldest and most experienced gymnast. The soft-spoken kid from Needham, Mass., has been widely seen as the underdog on a team with fellow contenders that are seen as being flashier or more dominant. Raisman is a graduate of Needham High School, which she attended until the end of her junior year. She completed her senior year via online classes, allowing her to focus on training for the 2012 Summer Olympics.True to her roots, some have said that Raisman performs with the kind of grit that would have her fit in with her beloved Boston Bruins, should she ever change sports.
On Sunday night, the women’s gymnastics competition began, and what transpired changed people’s perceptions of what will come to be on the medal stand. Raisman, the last in her rotation, scored 15.325 on the floor exercise, giving her a total of 60.391, slipping past Gabby Douglas for the top performance by an American that night. What it also meant is that her best friend, Jordyn Wieber, the current world champion, was the odd girl out of Thursday’s individual all-around final.
As her parents cheered for her in the stands, and the town of Needham got excited for their hometown girl, we’ll see later this week whether or not Raisman’s steady control will lead her all the way to the top of the podium.