Town officials are busy planning a homecoming celebration for Needham’s Olympic star Aly Raisman, but so far an exact date has not been set.
“We are developing plans for an official celebratory event and are hoping to get a date worked out soon,” Sandy Cincotta, assistant to the town manager, said Tuesday.
Though rumors have circulated around town about a possible parade or rally this week, Cincotta said no events are yet scheduled for Raisman and that nothing would be taking place this week.
Back in the States
After winning two gold medals and a bronze medal for U.S. Women’s Olympics at the 2012 London Games, Raisman, 18, returned to the United States on Monday, Aug. 13—announcing her arrival on her Twitter account, with the post: “HELLO AMERICA.”
The day before, as she prepared to depart, Raisman tweeted: “Thank you London for the best month of my life!! Hope to be back soon! XO.”
Raisman and her teammates—who have been nicknamed "the Fierce Five” after their medal-laden performance in London—appeared on the TODAY Show early Tuesday morning, where they helped Al Roker deliver the weather report. Later in the day, the girls explored New York City, with Raisman tweeting a photo of the team wearing their medals on the top of the Empire State Building.
The U.S. Women's Gymnastics Team, which includes Raisman, McKayla Maroney, Jordyn Wieber, Gabby Douglas and Kayla Ross, is also scheduled to appear Tuesday night, Aug. 14 on the “Late Show with David Letterman” and will also be appearing on “The Colbert Report” on Wednesday night, the Boston Globe reported.
After celebrating in Needham, Raisman will be joining her teammates on a 40-city tour across the United States, according to the Globe. Raisman also has reportedly accepted an invitation from Israel’s Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein to visit Israel, the Globe reported.
Looking back on London
As Raisman noted in her Aug. 13 Twitter post, the past month has certainly been an eventful one for the Needham gymnast.
Shortly after arriving in London, Raisman was named team captain for the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team. She quickly earned celebrity status with her performance in the women’s gymnastics finals on Sunday, July 29, scoring the second highest of all the women to compete and earning one of her team’s two spots, alongside U.S. teammate Gabby Douglas, in the women’s gymnastics all-around final.
Raisman's parents, Needham residents Lynn and Rick Raisman, also became celebrities during the Games, after NBC aired a video clip of the two reacting to their daughter’s performance on the uneven bars. The video quickly went viral—passed around by Twitter users, Facebook posters and various websites. Some suggested the clip would make a great skit on Saturday Night Live, while others were inspired to make their own variations, such as this Star Wars-themed clip on Cracked.com.
After qualifying for the all-around final, Raisman helped her team win the gold medal in the team finals on Tuesday, July 31, competing on balance beam and floor.
Though Raisman didn’t place in the women’s all-around on Thursday, Aug. 2, she finished just short of third place, and her teammate, Douglas, won the gold medal. Hundreds of friends and neighbors showed up at Needham Town Hall that morning to watch Raisman compete in the all-around final, and signs at businesses all over town showed just how proud Needham was of their hometown Olympian.
The next week, on Tuesday, Aug. 7, Raisman won the bronze medal on the balance beam in the women’s individual final and later that day won her second gold medal of the London Games with her performance on the floor—to the traditional Jewish song “Hava Nagila,” a nod to her roots.
Needham Patch will have more on the town’s plans to celebrate Raisman as information becomes available.