Sports News

Olympic champ Aly Raisman relishing ‘challenge’ of commentary ahead of NCAA Gymnastics Championships

As an athlete, six-time Olympic medallist Aly Raisman of the United States made a name for herself as one of the hardest workers in gymnastics.

Those who dared to doubt Raisman on the competition floor were met with the resistance that came with absolute preparedness.

The result was one of the most iconic careers of any U.S. gymnast.

Raisman captained Team USA to back-to-back Olympic titles, first with the ‘Fierce Five’ at London 2012, and then with the ‘Final Five’ at Rio 2016. Individually, she owns 2012 floor gold, 2016 all-around and floor silvers, and a 2012 beam bronze.

Nearly eight years removed from her final competitive performance in Brazil, Raisman is bringing her same mentality from the field of play to her first time inside ESPN’s commentators booth at this week’s NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships (18-20 April) in Fort Worth.

“Preparation is really important, just like when I was competing or training, when I competed well, it was the preparation and just knowing that I did everything I could,” said Raisman in a pre-event media availability alongside co-anchor John Roethlisberger, a three-time Olympian. “I’m still working on it and learning, but I have really enjoyed the process.”

Raisman made her commentary debut earlier this season at a dual meet at Louisiana State University alongside Roethlisberger, a 53-year-old experienced hand for both collegiate and elite gymnastics.

“She’s been given an opportunity to do the NCAA Championships, which some people might be surprised to see her there in her first year,” he said. “But I’ll tell you what, she has come into this job with a passion for it and a genuine desire to be great at it.

“I don’t think there’s anybody else out there that’s got more desire just to do justice to the athletes than she does,” the 1992, 1996, and 2000 Olympian continued. “Not to say that others don’t, but she has as much passion and desire to treat these athletes in a way that celebrates them and makes it exciting for those watching.”

While Raisman admits that she’s “very nervous” during the live broadcasts, she says she’s enjoying pushing herself outside of her comfort zone.

“It’s just been a really good exercise to learn how to try to be really concise, because with live TV, there’s not a lot of time to talk and to make a point, [you have to] make it quickly, but also say it in a way that whether you are a long-time gymnastics fan or a new fan, it is digestible and easy to understand for people,” explained Raisman. “That’s been a really exciting and interesting challenge.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button