Just an hour after being awarded a bronze medal on the balance beam at the London Olympics, Jewish-American gymnast Aly Raisman was beaming with happiness as she captured the gold medal in her ultimate triumph in the women’s individual floor exercise on Tuesday.
Raisman, 18, of Needham, Mass., secured the gold with a score of 15.6, outshining Catalina Ponor of Romania and Aliya Mustafina of Russia, the silver and bronze medalists, respectively.
Raisman, who became the first woman of the United States to take home the gold in the floor exercise, proudly performed to the music of “Hava Nagila” as her fans waved American and Israeli flags in the arena.
"Today has been a dream come true," Raisman said. "It was the best floor routine I've ever done. My coach said it was the best routine he'd ever seen me do."
Raisman said that while she did not intentionally choose her floor music as a tribute to the Israeli athletes who were killed at the Munich Olympics 40 years ago, "having that music makes this very special to me."
"It means a lot to me,” she said. “If there had been a minute of silence, I would have participated."
Raisman also helped Team USA take the women’s team gold, the first Olympic gold medal for the U.S. gymnastics squad since the 1996 Games in Atlanta.
In the balance beam exercise, Raisman originally finished in fourth place with a score of 14.966. After reviewing her routine, the judges chose to add an extra tenth of a point, giving her a score of 15.066, identical to that of Romanian Catalina Ponor. Raisman ultimately got the bronze medal because her execution score was higher.
She ultimately left Olympic Stadium with a smile on her face and three medals in her pocket.