Aly Raisman: A Family’s Triumph

parenting a winner

When Aly Raisman, the US Women’s Gymnastic Team captain, made it to the all around individual finals she shocked everyone but herself.

She beat out teammate Jordyn Weiber who was considered a shoe-in for the all around finals.

Raisman  proved herself once again by taking the gold in floor exercises and bronze on the balance beam.

During a nail-biting wait to see the results of the appeal that her coach filed regarding Aly’s difficulty score on the beam, Aly was cool, calm and collected. She casually made her way over to the Chinese Gold medalist to offer a congratulatory hug.

Related: Girls & Athletics: The Impact of Olympians on Our Girls

At eighteen years old, the oldest member of the women’s team, this was Raisman’s last chances to go for the gold. While many may have written her off, she proved that strong skills and character go hand in hand on a competitive stage.

Raisman is a shining example of how perseverance, poise, maturity and integrity pay off.

A role model for all tweens and teens, she demonstrates how belief in oneself far outweighs what others believe.

She also proved that it’s not over until it’s over. Raisman teaches a series of life lessons to her fans and admirers.

She extols the values of persistence, perseverance, commitment and control. She is indeed a shining example that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

Aly’s story is not however just about her own strong values and commitment, it is also a story of the support, caring, guidance and strength of family.

Related: Top 10 Benefits of Sports for Kids

When the camera quickly pans in on her parents, it is hard not to be struck by their intense, animated faces. It is clear that these folks are really feeling it with her.

As Aly calmly waited to see the result of her coach’s contestation of her score, the camera captured the stress and inner apprehension with which her father was clearly struggling.

This birds eye view reflected the intense anguish parents struggle with when they cannot control the world for their children. Her parent’s reactions are truly admirable.

If you are a parent of a child with an intense passion or drive to succeed you can begin to understand the sacrifices the Raismans have made in order to support their daughter in following her dream.

Aly’s gymnastic career is a testament to a family’s willingness to put life on hold so that they can offer their own an opportunity to reach for the stars.

While some may argue it is indeed parents' responsibility to support their child in this way, the sacrifices required cannot be underscored enough.

In the end, Aly demonstrated that even in the final twilight of an Olympic career, anything is possible!

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Jennifer Powell-Lunder and Barbara Greenberg are authors of the hit book, "Teenage as a Second Language: A Parent's Guide to Becoming Bilingual."  They've set up an interactive website for parents and teens to listen, learn and discuss hot topics and daily dilemmas. You can find it at

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