Shalom Life | April 20, 2014

‘Hava Nagila’ Gymnast Named to U.S. Olympic Team

18-year-old Jewish gymnast heads to London 2012

By: Sammy Hudes

Published: July 4th, 2012 in Culture » Society » News

‘Hava Nagila’ Gymnast Named to U.S. Olympic Team

Jewish American gymnast Alexandra “Aly” Raisman is heading to the Olympics after landing a spot on the U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team for the 2012 London games earlier this week.

Raisman, 18, finished third at the Olympic trials in San Jose, Calif., to secure her spot on the American Olympic team while posting the highest scores on Beam and Floor.

Meanwhile, 16-year-old Gabrielle Douglas upset fellow 16-year-old and World Champion, Jordyn Wieber for the top spot at the trials, as both of them punched their tickets to the Olympics. Wieber and Douglas will join Raisman on the gymnastics roster, on what some say will be the strongest team the Americans have had since 1996.

“I was really, really emotional, way more than I thought I would be,” said Raisman after being named to the Olympic squad. “I thought I would maybe tear up a little bit but I didn’t think I’d hyperventilate like that. I couldn’t even breathe. It was such a special moment and I’m so honoured and so excited.”

Born in Needham, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, Raisman was part of the 2010 U.S. World Championships team that won the silver medal in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

She is best known for performing a routine choreographed to “Hava Nagila” at the 2011 World Gymnastics Championships in Tokyo, Japan, for which she won a bronze medal on the floor exercise.

That same year, she was the captain of the U.S. gold medal-winning squad at the World Championships.

Raisman has previously indicated that if she were to qualify for the 2012 games, she would perform to the Hasidic tune again, but this time, on the world’s biggest stage.

In 2011, she told the JTA that she is proud to use the Jewish song “because there aren’t too many Jewish elites out there,” adding that she liked “how the crowd can clap to it.”

Raisman is a former recipient of the Pearl D. Mazor Outstanding Female Jewish High School Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award given out by the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in New York.

Enjoy as Raisman performs her routine to the tune of "Hava Nagila"


To follow Aly Raisman on Twitter, click here.

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