Summer Olympics 2012 fever is catching on, and in the world of elite gymnastics that means it is time to examine the past three years leading up to London and the hopefuls who have gold in their eyes and fortitude in their hearts.
Over the coming weeks, we will take a look at the crème de la crème in this popular Olympic sport, beginning with USA gymnast Alexandra Raisman.
Raisman, 17 years old, is a member of the U.S. national team. Nicknamed Aly, she began as many children do, with a mommy-and-me class in 1996. Apparently she enjoyed the experience enough to dedicate her young life to the sport, and it is certainly paying off.
Trained at Brestyan’s Gymnastics in Burlington, MA by Mihai and Silvia Brestyan, her teammate, 2008 Olympian Alicia Sacramone, has no doubt been a significant influence on this budding international star.
In 2009, Raisman grabbed all-around (AA) bronze in the Junior Pan American Championships, and from there her star kept rising, bringing home medals that year from the American Classic, Cover Girl Classic and the Visa Championships (third AA).
As a senior, Raisman’s stats are equally impressive. Since 2010 this gymnast has not only been consistent, but has become quite comfortable on the award stand.
Raisman has made her mark on the international competitive circuit, as well. At last year’s Worlds Championships, she aided in her team’s gold medal win along with her own bronze medal on floor exercise (FX) and a respectable fourth place finish in the AA and beam. Click here for her FX video.
Apparently FX is her niche, as she proved by capturing gold at the 2011 Cover Girl Classic. Raisman also was awarded first for AA and tied for first on vault. Viewers immediately appreciate her high energy level and obvious love of performing for a crowd.
As weaknesses go, uneven bars is not her best event. However, what she lacks on this apparatus, she more than makes up for on the remaining three.
Make no mistake, this New England girl is slated to make her mark across the pond. Raisman has the experience and the heart.