Olympian Aly Raisman Has the Best Response to People Saying She’s ‘Too Old’ for Gymnastics

The gold medalist shares how she stays motivated.

aly-raisman
Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images

For those who tuned into the Final Five this summer, you were privy to the athletic prowess that is Aly Raisman: she’s a two-time captain of the winning U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team, and she is the second-most decorated American gymnast of all time. At 22 years old, however, many people felt she was “too old” to compete this time around.

“They called me grandma,” Raisman said at the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit.

With so many people cheering on her teammate Simone Biles (gymnastics’ favorite) and wondering if Raisman could even compare at her age, it’s a wonder she was able to tune out the criticism and go on to win silver in the All-Around competition and help bring her team to gold. But, she has some awesome logic:

“When Tom Brady wins the Super Bowl nobody asks him if he’s going to stop,” Raisman said. “When a hockey player wins the Stanley Cup, nobody asks him if he’s going to stop. Why should it be any different [for me]?”

That confidence is why so many people have cheered on Raisman throughout her entire career. And winning silver at the Rio Olympics felt “like gold” to her.

“It’s not always about winning,” Raisman said. “At the end of the day, people will remember you for the kind of person you are rather than the place you were on the podium.”

Now, Raisman is focusing on creating a leotard and sock line, working with nonprofit Walden Behavioral Care (which offers support to people with eating disorders), and connecting with and offering inspiration to young gymnasts.

“I take the role of being a role model really seriously,” Raisman said.