Olympic gold medalist discusses life experiences at UAlbany

December 03, 2018 11:31 PM

ALBANY – Around 3,000 people came out Monday night to see Olympic Gold Medalist Aly Raisman speak at UAlbany's SEFCU Arena.

“She’s strong willed, she’s dedicated, she is a true role model for all ages,” said parent and attendee Kiera Hovey.

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Raisman is one of the most decorated American gymnasts of all time, winning six Olympic medals as Captain of the U.S. Women's Gymnastics Team as part of both the "Fierce Five" in 2012 and "Final Five" in 2016.

The 24-year-old now uses her accomplishments to go around and promote body positivity.

“Even if I can help one person out there that feels uncomfortable or maybe there’s a gymnast out there that gets made fun of by the boys in their class too,” said Raisman Monday night speaking about when she would get teased in elementary school for her strong muscles. 

Raisman came forward last year saying she was sexually abused by USA Gymnastics Doctor Larry Nassar. Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison. The moderator of the event never asked Raisman about the sexual abuse directly, but Raisman brought it up when she was talking about her work with Darkness to Light, a child sexual abuse prevention group.

“I’ve actually had a couple doctors tell me that they actually changed the way that they speak to their patients now, because it’s so hard to talk about and sometimes for children you’re not really sure what’s going on, you don’t know what’s bad,” said Raisman. “If it doesn't feel right, then it’s not right.”

Since then, Raisman has been calling for leaders of the gymnastics world to be held accountable, after she says they failed to protect them in this incident. All of this is discussed in her book titled "Fierce: How Competing for Myself Changed Everything." The book has become a New York Times bestseller.


WNYT Staff

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