Shalom Life | December 01, 2015

Jewish Gymnast Aly Raisman Poses Nude, Talks 'Darker' Side of Gymnastics on ESPN

The Olympic gymnast talks health, aging and extreme dedication for ESPN’s Body Issue

By: Jeff Low

Published: July 7th, 2015 in Sports » Local

Jewish Gymnast Aly Raisman Poses Nude, Talks 'Darker' Side of Gymnastics on ESPN

Photo: Aly Raisman

Credit: Screenshot


Aly Raisman is an Olympic gymnast; she’s won both gold and bronze medals at the 2012 summer games and, at 21, she’s built her whole life around the sport. However, as she explains to ESPN as part of their Body issue (while fully nude, I might add), it just might be because of this extreme dedication that her days as a world-class athlete are numbered.

“Every day is a challenge,” she says.

In the interview with ESPN, Raisman speaks about the ‘darker’ side of gymnastics - the extreme regimentation and absolute dedication the sport requires and, further, the resounding psychological and physiological impact.

“Even though at the 2012 Olympics we were so happy to win the gold medal, every day is not like that. I think people don’t understand that; people don’t see that side of the sport – the frustration, how much it takes a toll on your body, and mentally as well.”

Raisman is young and, seemingly, with her whole life ahead of her. However, in the world of competitive gymnastics, she fears her age is working against her. If she qualifies for the upcoming 2016 olympic games, Raisman will be the oldest gymnast on the American team.

She explains that “gymnastics is a young girl’s sport”; but, at the same time, that extreme dedication doesn’t just go away.

“We train our whole lives for that one moment. You work your whole life for a minute-and-a-half beam routine. I work out six days, 32 hours a week for the dream of competing at the Olympics again. I’m always eating healthy, always going to bed early. Everything I put into my body is for the purpose of gymnastics,” she continued.

Additionally, Raisman addresses a perceived misconception regarding the sport - that competitive gymnastics lead to eating disorders.

“I’ve never had an eating disorder, and I’m proud of that. I think gymnastics in the past had a bad reputation for that, but it’s not an issue anymore. I’ve never seen an issue among the girls on the national team,” she says.

Despite the hardship of the sport, it doesn’t seem like Raisman plans on slowing down just yet.

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