Aly Raisman acts as if she was always prepared. Not for the gymnastics routines for which she earned two gold medals - one team, one individual - but for the throng of media, sponsorship opportunities and the world’s spotlight following her winning performances in London.
The captain of the U.S. gold-medal winning gymnastics team took some time to talk to Patch at the public announcement of her relationship with Poland Spring Tuesday morning at Needham Town Hall. And while the 2012 Olympics are in the rearview mirror, the 18-year-old Needham High School grad with ties to the area now finds herself preparing for a new life as a household name.
Wellesley Patch: I saw you were introduced at last night’s New England Patriots [preseason home opener]. Are you a fan?
Aly Raisman: Yeah, I love the Patriots and the Bruins, and the Red Sox.
WP: Was it cool getting cheered by the Patriots fandom?
AR: Of course, it was awesome to be able to go to a Patriots game and have people know who all of us [on the U.S. gymnastics team] were. It was a really an amazing feeling and a cool experience.
WP: Do you have any particular feelings on people’s reaction to your newfound celebrity here in Needham? Has the town changed for you a little bit?
AR: It means a lot to have all the support from everyone, everywhere you look there’s signs that say my name, there are gold medals painted on the windows. It means a lot and it’s really cool, I never expected to get this much support.
WP: Have you found there is a lot of pressure on you now versus when you were competing? Do you feel as if you have a whole new life now?
AR: I’ve only been home for a week and a half so I’m still trying to wrap my head around everything. I feel like everything’s pretty much normal besides all these little kids waiting here wanting my picture. That’s really special and really amazing, but everything else is normal and everyone’s treating me the same.
WP: Do you have any plans going forward?
AR: Well, today is the first day we’re announcing my partnership with Poland Spring, so when you’re working seven to seven and a half hours a day, hydration is obviously crucial. And it’s natural water, so that’s really important to me. I’m just really excited for the future.
WP: How about athletically?
AR: Definitely, 2016 is in the back of my mind but I’m just taking it one day at a time.