Aly Raisman skyrocketed to fame as one of the Fierce Five gold medalists that represented Team USA at the 2012 Olympics, but in the past year, the 24-year-old has also become known as a staunch advocate for justice. She was among hundreds of athletes who came forward as victims of sexual harassment and abuse at the hands of USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar—now in prison for life—and, in January, shared an empowered testimony at his court appearance.
“All these brave women have power, and we will use our voices to make sure you get what you deserve," she said at the time, and she hasn't stopped fighting. In March, she filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics for failing to pick up on Nassar’s abusive and criminal behavior. Since, she’s also become a body-positive fashion campaign star and has deftly taken down trolls on social media.
But fighting for what's right comes at a price, Raisman says. "In the last year, I have not put myself first," she says in the video at top, explaining that she wants to continue to speak out about her own abuse and listen to other women's stories but sometimes feels triggered as a result. “I’ve learned that if I can’t take care of myself then I won't have the energy to help other people,” she adds. To do so, she plans to spend this summer sun grazing at her family’s beach house in Cape Cod and meditating, a “life-changing” practice she’s recently taken on.
The stress of coping with her abuse has affected her physical performance to, Raisman says. “I’m an Olympic athlete and I used to work out six to seven hours a day, just to show you how much trauma does affect you,” she says, explaining there are days when she simply can’t put her body to work. “I’ve learned that it’s okay not to be okay.”
But the badass has kept at her current goals, explaining that while progressive moments like #MeToo have certainly shed a light on harassment, there’s more work to be done. “A lot of the survivors, we all want to be involved with USA Gymnastics, we all want to help a lot, but in order for that to happen, USA Gymnastics has to have the character to listen to us and to talk to us and to hear us out,” she says.
Watch the video above to learn what Raisman considers the best part of her life now—and what comes next.