At the 2012 London Games, watching Aly Raisman's floor routine was a thing of beauty — and the judges agreed: Aly left London with a gold medal for floor. The opening tumbling pass, once deemed "impossible," strung together four explosive moves that took all of seven seconds to complete. Now back to compete in this year's Rio Games, Aly is focusing on perfecting this same floor routine in hopes that she will achieve gold for the second time.
While exhilarating to watch, it's often lost on spectators how precise and difficult these tumbling passes are, but a recent video from The Wall Street Journal is a fascinating look into the work Aly must do to stick the opening pass with as much perfection as humanly possible. Every detail of the tumbling pass, which consists of a round-off, one-and-half twist step-out, round-off, back handspring, Arabian double front to punch layout, is scrutinized. If her knees are too far apart? Deduction. If she lands out of bounds? Deduction. Flexed feet? Deduction. As Aly herself admitted, "You have to be a little bit crazy in order to do gymnastics." But the 22-year-old is still able to stay somewhat grounded in all the craziness. "To be honest, I always think about the fact that I am the reigning floor Olympic champion. Sometimes I struggle a little bit with being confident, so when I go up there, I just remind myself that no matter what happens, I've already won, so I just have to go out there and enjoy it."