Golden girl Raisman an Olympic star

By Danny Caro, August 6, 2012

I had a big lump in my throat watching Aly Raisman collect her gold medal after wowing the crowd with her floor routine performed to the Hava Nagila on Monday night. It just doesn’t get better than that.

It was one of those “where were you” moments and it was great to be able to speak to her just moments after she collected her first piece of Olympic silverware.

At just 18, it’s clear that Raisman has had to make so many sacrifices to become one of the world’s finest gymnasts and parents, Lynn and Rick, could not be prouder of their daughter, who told me that she hopes to inspire a generation of American athletes.

You could see the tension of the face of the Raismans with her every leap and tumble. It made really great television and I’m sure that most parents have been there and done that, although probably not at an Olympics.

No doubt, young Aly will get some huge commercial opportunities and I expect her to take everything in her stride on her way to becoming a global star.

Week one of the Olympics have been a real roller-coaster for British and Israeli sports fans following a string of disappointing performances from some of their heroes.

From day one, Efraim Zinger, the Secretary General of the Olympic Committee of Israel, told his nation not to get carried away in terms of medals and as things stand, he is spot on.

Some of Israel’s finest sportsmen and women are already out of the competition, but there is a great vibe around the camp and once the first medal goes into the bag, I’m sure the country will be celebrating as one.

Nobody expected tennis star Shahar Peer to pose a serious threat against Maria Sharapova and it was hard to watch her being bullied around the court. The main thing is that, on her least favourite surface, she came away with her head held high. Like Zinger, Peer is a realist and her words about representing her country with pride really hit home.

Week Two promises much for Jewish athletes. I’m looking forward to seeing Australian sprinter Steve Solomon in action for the first time, as well as Israeli athletes Donald Sanford, marathon runner Zohar Zimro and pole vaulter Jillian Schwartz.

Lee Korzits is the one to watch. The windsurfer is looking to become Israel’s first female gold medalist, and after an encouraging first few days in the there’s a great weight of expectation on her shoulders.

Last updated: 10:44am, August 6 2012