Chang W. Lee / The New York Times

Aly Raisman competes on the floor exercise on Day 2 of the women’s gymnastics U.S. Olympic Trials at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on July 10, 2016.

March 6, 2017

6-Time Olympic Medalist Aly Raisman to Speak at Cornell

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She has been to London and Melbourne. Rio and Tokyo. Glasgow and Indianapolis, and even the Netherlands. But now, the Aly Raisman tour will make its way to East Hill when the three-time gold medalist comes to speak at Cornell at the end of March.

Cornell Hillel announced Raisman as part of its Major Speaker Series and she will speak to Statler Auditorium at 7 p.m. on March 22.

“We hope students learn about how her struggles as well as successes made her able to achieve her goals,” said Molly Pushner ’19, chair of the series’ committee. “We also hope students learn how Judaism inspired and motivated her as an athlete.”

Raisman has never been one to shy away from her Jewish identity. As part of the “Fierce Five” in London in 2012, she competed in the individual floor exercise with popular Jewish hymn “Hava Nagila” blasting in the background. It was tribute to the 11 Israeli athletes murdered during the 1972 Munich Olympics, and Raisman went on to take gold in that event on the 40th anniversary of the athletes’ death.

“Having that floor music wasn’t intentional,” Raisman told the media after her performance in 2012. “But the fact it was on the 40th anniversary is special, and winning the gold today means a lot to me.”


“[She] shows the resiliency of the Jewish people to achieve with all of the difficult history that the Jewish people have faced,” Pusher said, adding that Raisman is “also a positive role model from the Jewish community.”

Raisman most recently took three medals in Rio, a team gold and silvers on both individual all-around and floor, part of Team USA’s “Final Five.” On that squad, she joined Simone Biles, Laurie Hernandez, Madison Kocian and fellow London Olympian Gabby Douglas in securing nine total medals for Team USA.

In London, she garnered two medals in addition to the floor gold: a gold in team and bronze in balance beam.

“She is someone who has worked hard to achieve her goals and can serve as an inspiration for anyone looking to something very [few] people will ever do,” Pushner said.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Raisman’s talk will begin at 7:30. In fact, it will begin at 7.