Gold for Raisman

By Danny Caro, July 31, 2012

Aly Raisman became the first Jewish gold medallist of the 2012 London Olympics after helping Team USA win the Women's Artistic Gymnastics competition at North Greenwich Arena on Tuesday.

Raisman, 18, produced an excellent performance in the beam before impressing the audience with her Hava Nagila floor routine to seal victory.

"It's an amazing feeling to win gold," she told the JC. "The best feeling in the world, and it shows that all the hard work has paid off.

"It's a huge honour to be the first Jewish gold medalist of the 2012 Games.

"I'm so excited and it definitely gives me a boost of confidence. It's crazy and I cannot believe it."

Team captain Raisman saved the best until last, with a stunning display in the floor exercise, with the crowd clapping to her favourite song, Hava Nagila. This followed a superb display on the beam.

"I was very happy with my performances," she commented. "I wanted Team USA to finish on a high and it was a huge honour to be the final athlete. I went up to do the best I could."

Jordan Wieber, Gabrielle Douglas, McKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross completed the American squad who finished with a combined score of 183.596, well ahead of runners-up Russia (178.530).

Raisman said: "I hope people will remember just how much fun we had, always smiling and we are all the best of friends."

Asked how she will celebrate, Raisman went on to say: "I will celebrate on August 7, not yet." She is hoping for further success in the Individual competition.

Raisman's coach Mihai Brestayn said: "I have no words to describe Aly's performance. She's a very hard worker and has the support of the team. She did everything we expected from her and has dedicated herself to training every day.

"She handled the pressure very well on the day. She's under pressure permanently as captain but she rose to the occasion."

Last updated: 10:10pm, July 31 2012