Aly Raisman. Photo by Michael Regan.

Who is she? Aly Raisman is an American gymnast and two-time Olympian. She was a member and caption of the 2012 “Fierce Five” and the 2016 “Final Five” U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics, winning their respective team competitions. She was the 2016 Olympic individual all-around silver medalist and floor silver medalist. At the 2012 Olympics in London, she won gold medals in the team and floor competitions and the bronze for the balance beam. She was the most decorated American gymnast. Additionally, in November of 2017, Raisman played a pivotal role in the sentencing of former Olympic team physician Larry Nassar for sexual abuse.

 

What does she do? Aly Raisman was born on May 25, 1994 in Needham, Massachusetts. She began her gymnastics training at just two years old, training at Exxcel Gymnastics and the American Gymnastics Club. Raisman was so dedicated to her gymnastics career that she completed her senior year of high school via online classes while training for the 2012 Olympics.

 

Raisman’s Olympic career began in July of 2012 at the London Summer Olympics. She helped the American Team qualify in first place for the team final while independently qualified as second in the individual all-around. Shortly after winning several medals, Raisman was injured during the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions; she fell while performing on the uneven bars, bruising her knees. However, Raisman returned to gymnastics two years later and was named, again, to the U.S. National Team along with Olympic teammate Gabby Douglas. She and her team performed spectacularly at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, bringing home several medals.

 

In November of 2017, Raisman came forward as one of the many women to be sexually abused by the former Olympic team physician Larry Nassar. In January of 2018, she was one of several victims to read an impact statement at Nassar’s sentencing. She filed a lawsuit against USA Gymnastics and the USOC, claiming that both organizations “knew or should have known” about the ongoing abuse. In May of 2018, Raisman and other survivors of the sexual abuse were awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

 

Why watch? It is unclear if Raisman is finished with her career as a gymnast. Regardless, she has provided a necessary voice in the ongoing battle against systemic sexual violence and abuse. We expect her to be an important figure in ongoing discussions of sexual trauma, assault, and other forms of gendered violence.