There were cheers and tears in Needham Town Hall today as hundreds of local fans turned out to watch a
live stream of 18-year-old Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman competing, and ultimately nabbing
fourth place, in the individual all-around competition.
Raisman has rocketed to stardom due to her performance at the 2012 Olympic games in London, and has even been tweeted by the likes of
President Barack Obama, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga, so it’s no surprise
that her hometown is showing her lots of love.
“I was really happy for her because she made it all the way to the
Olympics. It was her goal to do that. But I felt sort of bad for her
when she messed up but I knew she would do better on the floor
exercises. That seems to be her best event,” said 9-year-old Brianna
Gorman after today’s watch party.
Like most of the little girls in Needham Town Hall today, Gorman was decked out in patriotic colors, and giddy with excitement. Kids did cartwheels, inspired by their home-grown hero, and grown men clapped and cheered along with chants of “Let’s go, Aly, Let’s go.”
It was a regular Aly pep rally.
Silence hugged the crowd when Raisman was up, flipping, twisting and trying her best to stick it.
And when she fumbled, you felt it.
After the competition ended, with U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas in first place, and Raisman in fourth, Sue Faber and Marty Raisman were surrounded by a media frenzy of cameras and reporters eager to get their reaction on their granddaughter’s performance.
“She’s a champion no matter what place she comes in, as far as I’m concerned,” said her grandfather Marty Raisman. “She did a great job. A couple little small mishaps… no matter what the score is, she’s still a champion.”
“I would like it to have not happened, but these things happen,” he said, adding that he was “very, very nervous” while watching his granddaughter compete. “She’s a pro, she’ll put it behind her.”
Outside, as the crowd dispersed, Raisman’s grandmother chatted with friends, beaming with pride despite the fact that her granddaughter fell shy of bringing home another medal.
“I was excited for her, and I felt bad when she had a few mishaps,” Faber said. “She recovered nicely and she did an excellent floor routine, and that’s all you can ask anybody to do.”
“She’s a nice kid. She really is. Now she’s a woman, though. I realized when I saw her on television talking to her teammates and saying to Gabby (Douglas) ‘You can do it. You can do it.’ I realized that she was a leader,” Faber said.
When asked how she thinks the young athlete will adapt to her newly found fame once she returns home to the Boston-area, Faber said: “I think she’ll be the same person, which is down to Earth.”
“She’s always kept gymnastics separate from the rest of her life, and I think she’ll be able to go back into society with her friends and she’ll be the same Aly that she’s always been.”
Check out Metro’s interview with Raisman’s grandmother, Sue Faber:
The crowd went wild when Aly nailed the floor routine:
Crowd reacts to Raisman’s beam slip ups