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Aly Raisman says modeling for Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit edition makes her feel ‘proud’ 02.17.17 at 9:19 am ET
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Aly Raisman took home two silver medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics as well. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

Aly Raisman took home two silver medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics as well. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman made her debut in Sports Illustrated‘s Swimsuit edition this week. She says it was a liberating experience.

The Needham native participated in the magazine’s “What I Model” campaign, explaining in an Instagram video why she decided to take part in the annual modeling shoot.

“I think it’s such an empowering feeling to be at a photo shoot and to know that your body’s not perfect, that you have insecurities just like everyone else,” she said. “But you’re still having so much fun because you know you’re unique and beautiful in your own way.”

Raisman, 22, also says it makes her feel proud of her body.

“I also model because when I was younger I used to get made fun of by the boys in my class,” she said. “They told me that I was too strong, that I looked manly, and that I was anorexic and looked like I was on steroids. Of course, that really bothered me, and I used to hate the way that I looked, which, looking back, it makes me feel really sad. But that’s why I’m so proud to be in the SI Swim 2017 issue because at 22 years old I feel strong and beautiful in my own way and there is no perfect body type.”

The U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team took home the gold at last summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Raisman’s teammate, Simone Biles, also posed for SI‘s Swimsuit issue this year.

Read More: Aly Raisman, Sports Illustrated,
Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman admits she’s secretly been dating NFL player Colton Underwood 12.14.16 at 11:58 am ET
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Gymnast Aly Raisman, pictured earlier this year with David Ortiz, is reportedly dating NFL player Colton Underwood. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Gymnast Aly Raisman, pictured earlier this year with David Ortiz, is reportedly dating NFL player Colton Underwood. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Needham’s Aly Raisman, an Olympic gold-medal gymnast, has finally admitted that she’s dating NFL practice squadder Colton Underwood.

The duo met after Underwood posted a viral video asking Raisman out in August. The pair, who walked the red carpet together at the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year event on Monday night, had their first date in Denver that month, Raisman told People Magazine.

Underwood, who was cut from the Raiders’ practice squad this year, is currently a free agent. Raisman said they “kept it quiet for a while,” but now they’re going public.

Raisman, 22, is a Needham native and two-time Olympian who won gold in the team competition at London in 2012 and Rio earlier this year. She has also added a gold, three silvers, and a bronze in individual competition.

Underwood, 24, has spent parts of three seasons on four different practice squads, but has yet to appear in an NFL game.

Read More: Aly Raisman, Colton Underwood, olympic gymnastics,
Needham’s Aly Raisman signs deal with Poland Springs 08.22.12 at 2:50 pm ET
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Needham’s own Aly Raisman has signed her first major endorsement deal since winning two gold medals and a bronze at the London Olympics.

The 18-year-old signed a one-year deal to endorse Maine-based Poland Spring water, saying the endorsement was an easy decision because Poland Spring has been an important part of her training regimen for years. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Read More: Aly Raisman, London Olympics, Rumor Mill,
Tuesday’s Olympics roundup: Aly Raisman takes gold in floor, bronze on beam 08.07.12 at 9:35 pm ET
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Needham’s Aly Raisman already had one gold medal from the team all-around event last week, and she will take home another two medals after winning gold in the floor exercise and bronze on the balance beam on Tuesday. The two competitions were her final events of the London Olympics.

“I felt like I had nothing to lose,” Raisman said. “It was going to be my last memory for London, so I just wanted to make it count and enjoy it.

“It was definitely the best floor routine that I’ve ever done. To have it be at the Olympic Games, in the finals, is just really amazing and just a dream come true. That’s what you work for your whole life.”

Raisman was the only American to medal on Tuesday, as the rest of the Americans did not perform well. Individual all-around gold medalist Gabby Douglas had a rough day, finishing seventh on the balance beam after a fall.

Jordyn Wieber did not do much better, as she finished seventh on the floor and ended her Olympics without an individual medal. The former world champion left with a walking boot on her right foot and is suspected to have a stress fracture in her leg.

“We can’t do the numbers, we couldn’t train,” said John Geddert, her coach. “I had to set her down on a lot of landings. We couldn’t do beam dismounts. We had to cut back on things and water down. But it is what it is.”

BEACH VOLLEYBALL: ALL AMERICANS IN FINAL

It will be an all-American final in women’€™s beach volleyball, as both the American squads advanced past the semifinals on Tuesday.

Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings survived an early scare in their matchup with China’€™s Xue Chen and Zhang Xi, as they came back from a 13-7 deficit in the first set to take the match in straight sets.

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Read More: 2012 Olympics, Aly Raisman, Kerri Walsh, Misty May-Treanor
Thursday’s Olympics roundup: Michael Phelps wins first gold of London Games 08.02.12 at 5:00 pm ET
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Michael Phelps became the first male swimmer to win the same individual event in three Olympics when he won the 200-meter individual medley in 1 minute, 54.27 seconds Thursday in London. Phelps won his record 20th career Olympic medal and 16th gold. U.S. teammate Ryan Lochte took the silver in 1:54.90.

In the women’s 200-meter breaststroke, American Rebecca Soni broke the world record she set in qualifying, swimming a 2:19.59 to win the gold medal. Soni also took silver in the 100 breaststroke, losing out to 15-year-old Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte.

GYMNASTICS: DOUGLAS FIRST, RAISMAN FOURTH IN ALL-AROUND

Gabby Douglas became the first U.S. gymnast to win an individual and team Olympic gold medal as she captured the all-around title with her performance Thursday in London.

“I wanted to seize the moment,” Douglas said. “It hasn’t sunk in yet. Team finals hasn’t sunk in yet. But it will.”

Needham’s Aly Raisman rallied in her final event to tie for third place but lost the tiebreaker and missed out on the bronze.

“It’s really disappointing, but I’m really happy for Gabby,” said Raisman, captain of the U.S. team. “But it’s definitely really frustrating because we tied for third place. I was so close.”

Douglas, the third straight American to win the Olympic all-around title, took the lead in the first event and stayed there, finishing with a score of 62.232, less than three-tenths better than Russian Viktoria Komova.

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Read More: Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, Michael Phelps, Rebecca Soni
Monday’s Olympics roundup: Needham’s Aly Raisman leads USA women’s gymnastics team to gold 07.31.12 at 6:55 pm ET
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The U.S. women’s gymnastics team lived up to the hype on Tuesday, taking the gold medal as a team by routing the silver medalists from Russia.

It started on the vaults, where the Americans all did Amanars, among the toughest vaults in the world, and succeeded in taking a whopping 1.7-point lead. From there, the Americans never looked back as the team of Needham native Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, Gabby Douglas, Kyla Ross and McKayla Maroney dominated the competition.

“We knew we could do it. We just had to pull out all the stops,” Raisman said.

The 2011 world champions, and now the Olympic champions, have earned praise as the best team ever from their coach, John Geddert.

“This is the best team all-time,” said Geddert, who is also Wieber’s personal coach. “Others might disagree. The ’96 team might disagree. But this is the best team. Difficulty wise, consistency wise, this is USA’s finest.”

PHELPS TAKES ALL-TIME OLYMPIC MEDAL RECORD

While the United States as a whole had a very successful Tuesday in London, the day belonged to Michael Phelps, who earned his record-setting 19th medal.

Phelps won his 18th career medal earlier in the day when he took silver in the 200-meter butterfly. South Africa’€™s Chad le Clos (1:52.96) beat Phelps (1:53.01) by .05 seconds when the American glided to the wall instead of taking one final stroke.

However, Phelps earned his gold medal later in the day when the team of Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Conor Dwyer and Ricky Berens won the 4×200-meter freestyle relay with a time of 6:59.70. The Americans won by more than three seconds, as second-place France finished with a time of 7:02.77.

Phelps’€™ 19 medals (15 golds, 2 silvers, 2 bronzes) moved him ahead of Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina, who had 18 medals between the 1956, 1960 and 1964 Olympics. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Abby Wambach, Aly Raisman, Michael Phelps, Olympics
Sunday’s Olympics roundup: Gymnast Aly Raisman storms into all-around final 07.30.12 at 6:20 am ET
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Needham’s Aly Raisman came through with a knockout performance on the floor exercise in her final event of Sunday night, leapfrogging teammate Jordyn Wieber and knocking Wieber out of the women’s gymnastics all-around competition. Only two gymnasts per team can advance to Thursday’s all-around finals, and the Americans’ representatives are Raisman and Gabby Douglas.

Wieber, the reigning world champion who had lost only two all-around competitions since 2008, was distraught after missing out to her friend Raisman, sobbing as the team walked off the floor.

“I was really surprised, and I feel awful because she wanted it so bad,” Raisman said. “But she should still feel proud because she’s an Olympian. We have to stay calm and focused on team finals.”

The Americans scored 181.863 points and have a solid 1.5-point lead over Russia heading into Tuesday’s team finals. Defending Olympic champion China is third at 176.637.

Raisman, competing last, scored a 15.325 on the floor to jump from third place on her team to first. She took the floor after Wieber and Douglas both stepped out of bounds during their performances, earning key deductions.

“Aly had the meet of her life today,” U.S. coach John Geddert said. “What a time to have it. I couldn’t be happier for her. She’s a great kid. She deserves it. It’s a great thing for her.”

Raisman had the second-highest individual score of the day with a 60.391, trailing only Russia’s Victoria Komova (60.632). Douglas and Wieber ranked third and fourth overall.

SWIMMING: FRANCE SHOCKS U.S. MEN’S RELAY TEAM

The U.S. men’s 4×100 relay team was in position to repeat as gold medalists before France’s Yannick Agnel rallied past Ryan Lochte in the final 50 meters to shock the Americans.

Four years earlier, American Jason Lezak poured it on in the final strokes to stun France and win by the slimmest of margins. On Sunday, France got its revenge, with Agnel storming past Lezak to win in 3 minutes, 9.93 seconds. The United States took second in 3:10.38 and Russia was third in 3:11.41, edging out favored Australia by .22 seconds.

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Read More: Aly Raisman, Jordyn Weber, Kevin Durant, Olympics
Olympic spotlight: Needham gymnast Aly Raisman inspired by memory of grandparents 07.27.12 at 7:05 am ET
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When Needham’€™s Alexandra Raisman was named to the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team at the trials on July 1 in San Jose, she worked her way to the front row of the stands and hugged her parents. Raisman’€™s three younger siblings, away at camp, weren’€™t there to cheer on their sister.

Her grandmother Nancy Raisman and grandfather Rick Faber weren’€™t there, either.

The last time Nancy Raisman watched her gymnast granddaughter perform was in the 2011 American Cup, before she died of cancer on Dec. 24.

The loss of both grandparents was hard for Raisman, but the 18-year-old has used it for motivation on her quest for Olympic gold.

‘€œShe really wanted to stay alive for me to compete in the Olympics, so it’€™s definitely tough that she’€™s not here,’€ Raisman said. ‘€œWe both have a lot in common. She used to take me shopping all the time, so I always think about how she would be so proud of me because I accomplished something that she really wanted to live for.’€

Rick Faber, who had kidney disease and was on dialysis for 43 years, didn’€™t get to see Raisman’€™s Olympic qualifying performance either. Faber was around for the 2011 World Championships when Raisman won a gold medal with Team USA and a bronze medal in the floor event. He died not long after, on Aug. 22.

Yet the gymnast nicknamed Aly placed first in the floor and beam events and finished third in the Olympic trials.

Even though the lifelong Needham resident can’€™t tumble on her favorite event, the floor, in front of her grandparents anymore, she hasn’€™t forgotten them.

‘€œThey’€™re always in the back of my mind and it’€™s really important for me to make them proud because I know they were always so supportive and excited for me,’€ Raisman said. ‘€œI’€™m just really happy that I could be able to do this for myself but also for my family because everyone misses them a lot.

‘€œIt’€™s really cool because [my grandmother] was really excited and always would talk about having me go to the Olympics and my grandpa would always brag about me to his friends. It’€™s cool that the whole family can come together and watch me compete, so I’€™m excited.’€

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