Aly Raisman Aiming for 2020 Olympic Gymnastics Appearance

Heavily decorated U.S. Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, is seeking to join some rarified air with a return to competition in Tokyo’s summer games, four years from now. She is hoping to tie Dominique Dawes’ record setting third consecutive women’s gymnastics team appearance.

Historically, only two other female U.S. gymnasts have appeared in three separate Olympiads: Muriel Grossfeld and Linda Metheny-Mulvihill.

Dawes made history in 2000, becoming the first female gymnast in Olympic history to be a part of three medal-winning teams. Raisman, 22, would be three years older than Dawes was when she made her final appearance in Sydney at age 23.

Raisman in the Rio 2016 Olympics

Her commanding performance at Rio 2016, only overshadowed by teammate Simone Biles’ four individual golds, has already cemented her legacy as one of the greatest American gymnasts of all time. She notched three more medals (1 gold and 2 silver) in Rio after winning two in London in 2012.

She raised suspicions her Olympic run may not be finished in a post-Olympics interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer.

“Never say never,” Raisman responded to an inquiry regarding her potential participation in the 2020 Summer Games.

Raisman recently confirmed during an appearance on the television show Ellen, that she would take some time to recover before pursuing her training for Tokyo.

After Ellen DeGeneres inquired about whether or not she would gear up for another round of Olympic competition, Raisman replied;

“Yeah, I’m really excited, I mean I thought I was in the best shape of my life in 2012, and it was even better now, so I’m excited to see what will happen in 2020,” said Raisman. “Get better with age,” she joked.

Making a Name for Herself

Raisman burst onto the public radar in 2012 as a member of the “Fierce Five,” U.S. women’s team, winning gold in team competition and an individual gold in the floor exercise competition. Her top score of 15.600 made her the first American woman to take gold in the event.

Four years later, she would capture silver in the same event during the Rio Olympics, finishing again with a score of 15.600 but eventually falling just shy of Biles’ 15.733 gold score.

If Raisman is to compete in the Tokyo Olympics, she would turn 26 years old just a month before the games commence, equaling Annia Hatch at 26 during the 2004 Athens games. Hatch has been the oldest U.S. female gymnast to compete since 1964, when Doris Fuchs Brause competed at 32.

Hatch won a silver medal in the vault event in Athens.

Raisman announced she would spend the next year recovering from her Rio training and take some time away from the sport in order to help prepare herself for another push toward Olympic competition.

At 22, Raisman was already the most senior U.S. women’s gymnast while representing team USA in Rio, which would almost certainly make her the incumbent veteran leader on the next iteration of women’s gymnastics in Tokyo.

John Sill