Raisman ready to win more medals in Rio


ALY Raisman insists age will be no problem as she looks to defend her gymnastics titles at the Rio Olympics.

Aged 22, it is remarkable that Raisman will be the oldest American gymnast to compete at the Olympics since 2004.

Historically, the average age of the USA women’s team has hovered around 16. But Raisman, in her second Olympic Games, is hardly a veteran going for gold. And she feels her age is an advantage rather than a hindrance.

"I've been doing these routines for so many years,” said Raisman who was this week confirmed as the USA women’s gymnastics team captain. “I feel like this time I have so much experience and I know how to recover better.

"It's going to be one of the older teams that the USA has ever had. At 22 that is crazy.

"Gymnastics is, as people like to say, a young girl’s sport, but I think we’re definitely changing the dynamic of it. We're proving people wrong and saying that you can do it. I’m still living my dream and long may that continue."

Age should, in fact, prove no barrier to Raisman. To put that into context, at the 2012 Olympics, Beth Tweddle was 27 and won a bronze on uneven bars for Team GB, and Oksana Chusovitina won a silver medal for Germany on vault at the Olympics when she was 33.

Raisman said: “I’ve always dreamed of this since I was a little girl — since I was eight. That’s when I really realised I wanted to do this. I haven’t looked back since. I’ve known nothing else.”

Aged 18, Raisman was also captain of the team who were dubbed the Fierce Five in London.

The team went home with the gold and Raisman walked away the most decorated American gymnast, claiming two golds and one bronze medal.

She famously wowed the crowds with a floor routine set to Hava Nagilah to honour the 11 Israelis murdered in Munich at the 1972 Games.

It is no wonder all eyes will be on her to repeat her feat in Brazil.

She said: “I have been trying to do the same thing because it worked four years ago. Last time I wanted to go in and know that I gave it my all. I pretty much put everything in my life on hold for gymnastics and I do the same thing now.”
Raisman is dedicated to the sport she loves. She admits to having made sacrifices but is she is ready to “let her hair down and live a little” after the Games.

"I don’t really have that much of a social life right now,” she said. “But I’m fine with that because I know after this summer I can have a little bit of a break.

"I’ll definitely have a rest after gymnastics just because I need it mentally. I just want a normal life for a bit."

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