Aly Raisman (Getty Images)Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman is ready to head to L.A. to compete in the new season of “Dancing With the Stars.”
Raisman spoke with omg! on Thursday all about her exciting new venture, plus her recent partnership The Century Council to raise awareness about underage drinking.
Calling from her home in Massachusetts, the 18-year-old said she’s going to rehearse there until about March 12, so she can spend a little more time with her family.
“It was a huge secret, so I only told my immediate family,” Raisman said about her family’s reaction to the news. “They were so excited! My dad was really funny, he was crying on the phone [when I told him]!”
Raisman is partnered with Mark Ballas and she shared that they are in the early process of figuring out their game plan to get that Mirror Ball trophy. Ballas previously won with an Olympic champion, figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi.
“It’s only been about four days now, but we’re both just really excited. We’re trying to get to know each other more,” she said. “He’s been picking up on some things that I’m good at and some things I need to work on. Everyone thinks because I’m a gymnast it will be easy, but it’s actually the complete opposite.”
Raisman certainly is not the first Olympic athlete to head to “DWTS.” Shawn Johnson, Apolo Anton Ohno, and Kristi Yamaguchi are a few examples of former Gold Medalists that have stepped into Hollywood’s most famous ballroom.
“I keep doing gymnastics - like moves - and [Mark] will be like, ‘Oh no you can’t do that!’” said Raisman. “It’s going to be a challenge but I love challenges. I think the hardest part for me is counting music and doing every step correctly. I’m better at shaking my hips and shimmying! I’m more comfortable doing fun and laid back moves.”
So, which former contestants is Raisman going to take pointers from?
Aly Raisman at 2012 Olympics (Getty Images)“After the first rehearsal, Mark and I watched videos of his previous partners,” continued Raisman. “I was watching Shawn Johnson’s season last night. I’ve been watching Nicole [Scherzinger] and Derek [Hough] … they were so awesome and so amazing. Shawn was so awesome. Since she’s a gymnast, she gives me hope!”
Johnson, who made it to the final three of last season’s “DWTS: All-Stars,” reached out to Raisman once she heard the news.
‘”She’s been texting me!” Raisman eagerly revealed. “She was so excited when she found out I was going to do [DWTS] and that I was paired with Mark since she had him her first season.”
As for what tips Johnson passed along, the alum advised the newbie to, “enjoy it, have fun and not overthink things so much.”
One thing very much on Aly’s mind is trying not to get injured. Former “DWTS” stars like Melissa Rycroft, Misty May-Treanor, Maria Menounos, and Nancy O’Dell all have suffered serious ballroom war wounds.
“That was a huge concern for everyone,” revealed Raisman. “My [Olympic] coach talked to me and said just to be careful, to keep my ankles strong and not roll it. I’ve been working out basically every day and I’ve been doing conditioning. I feel fit and I feel good, so I just try not to think about that. You just try and make sure you are really strong and there are ways to prevent it.”
Raisman is equally as strong when it comes to her morals outside of training. She partnered with Century Council last year to raise awareness about underage drinking in the teen world.
“It’s something that really means a lot to me. I have a younger brother and two sisters and the program is about choosing a healthy lifestyle,” the gymnast shared. “If I didn’t make good choices when I was younger, or even now, I wouldn’t be where I am today. [The program] is about how important it is to eat the right things, get a good night’s sleep, not drink alcohol, and to make good choices that will impact you in the right way.”
Sounds like that is clearly working!
April is Alcohol Awareness month and we’ll have more with Raisman on that topic as we get closer!
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