Gold Medal-Winning Gymnast to be Inducted into Jewish Hall of Fame - The Jewish Voice
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Gold Medal-Winning Gymnast to be Inducted into Jewish Hall of Fame

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Aly Raisman, bringing nachas (pride) to Jewish Olympics enthusiasts back in the United States and around the world, celebrates with her gold medal in the women’s floor exercise at the London 2012 Olympic Games Artistic Gymnastics competition, London, Britain, 07 August 2012.  (Photo credit: EPA/Andrew Gombert)Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman will be inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame & Museum on April 21 in Commack, N.Y. The Jewish Sports Hall of Fame recognized the Needham, Mass., native last year as well, when she received the Pearl D. Mazor Outstanding Female Jewish High School Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award, according to the Jewish Journal.

Raisman, 18, won a gold medal this summer at the London Olympics for her floor routine to the song of “Hava Nagila.” She also took home a bronze medal on the balance beam and helped the U.S. win the women’s gymnastics team title. She became the most decorated U.S. gymnast at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Raisman was born on May 25, 1994, in Needham, Massachusetts to Lynn and Rick Raisman. Raisman is Jewish; her mother is a former high school gymnast. Raisman began gymnastics at a very young age. Raisman trained at Exxcel Gymnastics and Climbing through Level 8, when she moved to Brestyan’s American Gymnastics Club under coaches Mihai and Silvia Brestyan. Raisman is a graduate of Needham High School, which she attended until the end of her junior year. She completed her senior year via online classes, allowing her to focus on training for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

At the end of July, Raisman competed at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. She helped the American team qualify in first place to the team final and also qualified in second place for the individual all-around with a score of 60.391. In the team final, Raisman contributed scores of 14.933 on balance beam and 15.300 on floor toward the American team’s first place finish.

In the individual all-around, Raisman finished in fourth place with an overall score of 59.566, which matched the third place score by Russian Aliya Mustafina, but the tie-breaking rules for all-around sum the three highest apparatus scores; with Mustafina scoring 45.933 and Raisman 45.366, Mustafina was awarded the bronze medal.] Raisman said, “I’m really happy for Gabby. In the balance beam final, Raisman won the bronze medal. She initially scored 14.966, but after U.S. team coordinator Márta Károlyi and husband Béla Károlyi had requested a video review, the judges re-evaluated and granted an extra tenth towards her routine’s difficulty. As a result, Raisman scored 15.066, matching Romanian Cătălina Ponor for third place, and in the tie-breaking procedure, which prioritizes execution score, Raisman scored higher.

In the floor final, Raisman won the gold medal with a score of 15.600. She said, “It feels amazing. I have been working so hard, so to have it come true is so exciting. I have always dreamed of being the Olympic Champion on floor, so I was really happy to be able to do the floor routine of my life here today.” She is the first American woman to win the gold medal on floor. Raisman performed her floor exercise to the tune Hava Nagila, almost 40 years to the day of the Munich massacre.

The Jewish Sports Hall of Fame & Museum honors Jewish athletes, coaches, broadcasters and others notable in the sporting world. Raisman is among eight others who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in April. Also honored will be David Berger, a weightlifter who was one of the 11 Israelis killed at the famous Munich Olympics in 1972.

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