Aly Raisman, a six-time Olympic medalist in the Olympics, has announced that she won’t participate in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
There had been rumors that Raisman, who lives in Massachusetts, wasn’t planning on competing, and the 25-year-old confirmed them in a statement posted to her Instagram Tuesday.
"It's true I'm not going to be competing in Tokyo," Raisman wrote, adding that her mom had called her to tell her she was watching news of Raisman's retirement. “But seeing it characterized as such a simple decision really caught me off guard. The Olympic journey is so much more than that.”
Raisman added that she hasn’t really processed all that has happened in the past 10 years and she’s not sure if she ever will.
"I've lived a pretty fast-paced life and sometimes I have to remind myself to slow down, unplug from technology and take the time to appreciate what I've experienced and learned," she said.
The gold-medalist went on to remember her 8-year-old self in the post and the passion she had as a gymnast from a young age. Raisman remembers watching the Olympics as a little kid and dreaming of herself there. She competed in Rio and in London.
Since then, she has become an advocate for survivors of sexual abuse, having spoken out about the sexual abuse she endured at the hands of former doctor Larry Nassar. Nassar is now serving 175 years in prison.
She alluded to what she had experienced in the post, and she pondered what she would have told her 8-year-old self about her career as a gymnast.
“I wonder if I would tell her that life will be filled with ups and downs, and that there are people in the sport who will fail to protect her and her teammates,” she wrote. “It would be so hard to tell her that, but I would make sure she knows she will get through it and she will be OK.”
Raisman, who also shared a video of herself as a child practicing on the balance beam, is now focused on making gymnastics safer for other children.
“As a little girl, I thought what mattered most was making it to the Olympics, but I’ve learned that my love for gymnastics is more important,” Raisman wrote.
“It is this love that fueled my Olympic dreams, and it is this love that now inspires me to do everything I can to make it safer for the many wonderful people in the sport and all the little 8-year-olds out there who will be watching the gymnasts in Tokyo.”