I just finished Fierce: How Competing for Myself Changed Everything, by Aly Raisman, and fully enjoyed it. Fierce was a story I wanted to read since Raisman released it. I have always been a huge fan of hers through both Olympics, and also was very interested in her journey, especially after hearing the horrors that went down with many female US Olympic gymnasts. How does a young woman exemplify the determination and resiliency that these young athletes must have at such a young age? How does someone muster the strength and fierceness to win multiple medals when dealing with pressure, drama and abuse behind the scenes?
I loved the way Raisman told her story; she wrote about her triumphs and her challenges, her woes and her injuries. She wrote about her struggles with feeling incompetent and unworthy, which was such an interesting and believable glimpse into the behind-the-scenes life of someone in her sport. Raisman also wrote about pushing through her issues with confidence and strength from within, reminding herself what her mother always told her: being a good person is the most important of all.
In many ways Raisman seemed like the underdog, especially when she attempted a comeback for her second Olympics, which is something that not many gymnasts have accomplished. I think her story is one that teens and preteens everywhere should read; it’s a courageous, hopeful tale. Adults alike should also read it; many could learn a thing or two from Raisman’s drive and work ethic. She is an amazing woman who has accomplished so much and had to deal with a ton that many people would not have the strength to deal with; Aly never gives up, and she shows readers how she found strength in different ways. Talk about inspiring.
What I also like about this story was that the USA gymnastics abuse scandal didn’t define the story; it wasn’t weaved throughout and only had one topline chapter dedicated to it. Raisman wrote about how what happened to her was private, but she wanted to share that abuse did happen to her, and that she is still dealing with the post traumatic stress of it all today. She wanted to ensure she touched on it because she feels that her story may give others a voice; she states that everyone’s story is worth telling and she wanted to give others the courage to speak up.
I really enjoyed reliving some of my favorite Olympic moments over the years while reading Aly’s story, and whether or not you are a gymnastics fan, I think Raisman’s tale will resonate with people of all walks of life. After all, as the Toronto Raptors have recently reminded us, who doesn’t love the triumphant story of an underdog?