Aly Raisman, the team captain of the gold medal-winning team at the 2012 Summer Olympics finished a disappointing fifth place at the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships last month. Despite a major setback at the World Championships, the 21-year-old gymnast still looks forward to give her best shot at the Rio Olympics next year.

alyRaismanUSteamIt is not the kind of comeback the 21-year-old defending Olympic floor exercise champion expects, and she was pretty disappointed with the competition’s results. Out of 184 gymnasts who competed at Worlds, only four of them were better, and two of them is Raisman’s teammate and compatriot, including her stiffest competition – two-time world champion Simone Biles.

After obtaining two gold medals in the 2012 Summer Olympics (Team and Floor Exercise), Aly, 18 years old at that time, took a break from gymnastics to grab the opportunities that had come her way. She became busy performing on tour with her compatriots. She also took part in the American TV series, “Dancing With The Stars”. Also, she became a special guest at the Maccabiah Games in Israel, an international Jewish multi-sport event.

It was a brand new start for Raisman, who dedicated most of her time and energy on her gymnastics training.

“There will be in the times in the summer we’ll go to the Cape, and she’ll be like, ‘It’s going to be too exhausting driving to the Cape. It’s too much. I’m just going to stay home,’” said Lynn, Aly Raisman’s mother. “That year off, everything that came her way she could say ‘yes’ to because she wasn’t training.”

alyRaisman2012OlympicsAccording to Lynn, Aly has been always persistent and dedicated to her gymnastics training, even when she was still a child.

“I look back at some of those times when we didn’t do things as a family and she stayed home, like, you were so young, you were such a low level. … She just always was like that, very devoted, very regimented with the training,” Lynn said.

According to her mother, Raisman, despite all the fun she was having, decided that she would come back very early into her year off.

“Initially, two weeks later [after the Olympics], she was like, ‘Yeah, I’m done,’” Lynn recalled. But after just a few months, she told her mother ‘I want to come back.’”

Aly then slowly returned to her most beloved sport.

Despite returning to her training routine since the fall of 2013, just over a year following her Olympic meet, she hasn’t started competing yet until this year, at the 2015 City of Jesolo Trophy which was held in Jesolo, Italy last March. She finished third in the said competition behind her two U.S. compatriots. She also competed at the US Championships in August, where she once again secured a bronze medal at the all-around competition.

However, those were not the medals she’s looking for in her gymnastics comeback. What Raisman really wants is a podium position in the Olympics all-around competition, an opportunity that she missed after finishing fourth at the 2012 Summer Olympics, after the tiebreaker’s result. She was thinking about that missing medal “all the time,” the 21-year-old athlete stated. Due to that disappointment, the young US gymnast felt more motivated to make her second Olympic team. That’s not an easy task in the U.S., which has a lot of Olympic-medal worthy athletes.

AlyRaismanDancingWiththeStars
Aly Raisman at the American TV Series “Dancing with the Stars”

Perhaps the 21-year-old gymnast really wanted it too badly in Glasgow. After a disappointing floor performance, her whole day went further downhill. She screwed up on vault exercise. Also, she fell off the bar in the uneven bar exercise. She appeared to be shocked and astonished each tie as she picks herself up to resume her routine.

 “When you fall at a meet, you just kind of black out,” Raisman said. “It’s the worst feeling. It’s almost traumatizing. I can’t even explain. It’s like the worst feeling in the world.”

The results were also worse: She failed to qualify for the all-around finals.

Despite the disappointing individual competition results, Aly Raisman finally recovered at the team event finals in Glasgow. She performed without hesitations at the beam exercise; she moved swiftly and aggressively. On the floor exercise, she managed to deliver a clean and remarkable performance, helping her team to finish five points ahead of China and Great Britain.

For the 21-year-old gymnast, most difficult part of her gymnastics comeback is

For Raisman, the hardest part of her gymnastics comeback is trying to manage her nervous energy.

“I was just a little too hyper,” Raisman explained.

Even though she’s not a teen anymore, Raisman said that she was able to regain the skills she possess in the 2012 London Olympics. She has even added new elements to her collection of routines.

“I almost feel like I’m stronger than I was last time,” she said.

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