If you want to talk about a wild ride in London, just follow U.S. Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman around for a day or two.
She has experienced every possible emotion during the first six days of Olympic competition and in light of it all has shown her colors as a true champion.
The 18-year-old U.S. team captain went from sitting in the shadow of Jordyn Wieber and Gabby Douglas to the center of the spotlight, to an Olympic gold medalist, to a young lady snubbed by controversy.
Raisman had the meet of her life during preliminaries on Sunday, where she finished second in the all-around standings, ahead of her teammates—favorites Douglas and Wieber.
Raisman was in complete shock when she realized she earned a spot.
“I was just worried about floor finals,” Raisman said in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
With Raisman’s success also came heartbreak, as her best friend Wieber was not allowed to compete in the finals due to the two-per-country rule. It was a tough situation that sparked a lot of controversy.
The success helped Raisman make a fast name for herself, though, as she began to be respected as a champion who had been looked over.
Even Raisman’s parents found instant stardom after the prelims. They were the subjects of a viral video where they displayed intense reactions during Raisman’s floor routine.
Then, during team finals Raisman continued to perform well as she helped anchor the team to its first gold medal since 1996. Raisman competed on beam and floor and put up solid scores in each event.
Raisman still had intense heartbreak, though, as she narrowly missed the podium in the individual all-around finals. Raisman and Russian Aliya Mustafina each scored a 59.566 in the all-around, which meant they tied for third place. Then, Mustafina ended up with a bronze because of a tie-break rule that was updated for this Olympics.
“I was more sad than angry,” Raisman said in an interview with Will Graves of the Associated Press.
"Being fourth in the world is definitely something to be proud," she said. "I'm trying to be positive about it."
There’s still more to come for Raisman, as she will compete in the floor and beam event finals thanks to her perfect day of preliminaries. She is a favorite for the floor gold, with an intense routine filled with acrobatic skills.
At the rate her dramatic journey has been going, there’s no telling of what is going to happen next.
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