Aly Raisman being interviewed by Dr. Powers. (image credit: Stefan Karlberg)

Aly Raisman is the epitome of the word “fierce.”

Raisman is a six-time Olympic medalist, three of which are gold. She competed in two Olympic Games, winning the team gold awards both times. Raisman is also a sexual abuse survivor.

Raisman appeared at SNHU on November 27 to discuss her gymnastics career, her views on feminism and her experience opening up during the Larry Nassar trials. The event, hosted by ACES, was held in the Field House and welcomed a full crowd who came to hear Raisman speak. Kids and adults alike lined up to ask her questions, varying from asking her favorite trick, to asking how to recover after injuries.  Raisman sat down before her event to talk more in depth about some topics.

Raisman has lots of experience at the Olympics, competing in 2012 and 2016. Both years the USA team won gold. However there is more to the Olympics than the competitions seen on TV. Raisman said, “We used to have so much fun. I feel like some of my favorite memories are actually outside of the arena and we used to do pin trading. We would put them on our credentials and trade with people all over the world. It was really fun, we had a really good time.”

While the companions were intense, the competitors left it all on the mat.

“It’s a lot of pressure while you’re competing, so when you’re not at the gym, when you’re able to have fun and laugh that’s sort of the best way to calm you down and take your mind off of the competition,” said Raisman.

Raisman also has a clothing collaboration with Life is Good. Speaking about the collaboration she said, “I love working with Life is Good because I love all that they stand for. I actually just finished reading [their] book and I loved it. For me it’s really important to align myself with brands who are really doing something bigger than themselves. They do so much stuff with children, specifically with trauma. Together we really wanted to create t-shirts that really were encouraging girls to be strong and to be fierce and to be brave.”

Raisman is also part of a historic time for her hometown Needham, Massachusetts. All four of the Boston area major sports teams have won at least one championship title in the past decade. In this same time period, Raisman won her six Olympic medals. When speaking about being a part of the city’s athletic community, she said, “Boston has been just an incredible sports city. I always have gone to the games. From a young age, my dad would take me a lot and it was sort of our thing. I love watching all the sports teams. I think it’s so fun, but I always joke that Boston sports fans are so spoiled because we always have championships and are so successful. It’s definitely fun to be a part of it.”

When speaking about the love the area has for the sports teams, she said, “I travel a lot, and when you go to other sporting events in other cities, its nothing like being in Boston because Boston sports fans are just so loud. They cheer and they root and it’s just amazing to be a part of that.”

Raisman ended with advice geared towards high-school and college athletes. “I think it is really important to not define yourself as just an athlete. Of course it’s an incredible thing to be an athlete and be really successful at being an athlete. It’s also really important to recognize that not everyone is going to be the best, not everyone is gonna get first place, so if you don’t get first place that’s okay. As long as you are focused on competing with yourself and being the best version of yourself, you should be very proud of yourself… It’s easy to compare yourself to other people, but just try to focus on yourself and being the best version of yourself.”

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