“Fierce” Ch. 13 – 16


– Aly was walking past a bookstore at the Houston airport when she caught a glimpse a magazine with gymnasts wearing red leos on the cover. She didn’t realize it was her and her teammates until Kyla pointed it out and they ran over and jumped up and down

– Aly is part Russian, German, and Romanian (that explains the bars)!

– The flight attendants on the way to London wanted to take photos with them and asked them to sign their napkins

– Surprise surprise, pink is the Fierce Five’s lucky color

– When they weren’t training, the team was “confined” to their Olympic Village townhouse. Marta was on the first floor, Kathy Kelly and Jenny Zhang were on the second floor, and the girls were on the 3rd floor (room assignments were determined based on each gymnast’s sleeping arrangements). The 2nd floor also had a trainer’s room since they weren’t allowed to use the USA Olympic training room and meet the other athletes.

– They spent their downtime in the 2nd floor common area where they people watched and talked to the men’s team who were next to them until a pipe burst and their apartment flooded.

– The Olympic Village was full of fruit and drink stands, and athletes could have as many free sports drinks as they wanted. Aly and her teammates would sit quietly and nod whenever Marta was talking to them because their tongues were bright blue from the drinks.

– Bela watched one of the workouts and took Mihai aside to tell him that Aly’s bars looked better and he believed she’d make the aa final!

– Aly, Jordyn, and Gabby didn’t really talk about the fact that they were competing for the aa spots. Aly knew that the media always counted her out and didn’t really like that, but she believed that she had a shot.

– Aly thinks that the two per country rule is “the dumbest rule ever”

– Watching the other girls made Aly nervous during tf, so she relied on McKayla’s reactions to all the routines to know how they were doing

– Aly and Gabby liked to shout “Normal!” during each other’s routines bc it reminded them to do everything just like in practice

– Before her 3rd pass in tf, Aly had a deer in the headlights moment and almost panicked, but she was able to snap out of it

– The day of the aa final, Aly kept thinking that she somehow stole Jordyn’s spot, but Mihai assured her that she earned it. Jordyn hugged her and Gabby and said she couldn’t wait to see them compete. Aly notes that she is “a great friend, with a great heart”. <3

– Before beam, Aly started doubting herself and thinking about falling on beam. She kept pacing and stopped just in time to see Aliya fall, which pressured her to be precise but also reminded her that it could happen to anyone. She felt sad and embarrassed after grabbing the beam. This also made her nervous to do her punch front on floor, so she took that out.

– When Aly dropped to 4th after the tiebreak, she felt like she had let her whole country down. She was scared to face Marta, but Marta was almost in tears and told her “When will you ever learn to compete for yourself? You always do so well in the team final, and then you put too much pressure on yourself individually”.

– Mihai, Marta, and Aly’s lucky number is 7, so they thought it was a good sign that beam and floor finals were on August 7. Kathy Kelley also told her parents that it would be good luck if they found coins around London, and they ended up finding a gold and bronze.

– Aly’s first reaction when she saw that she and Catalina tied in the beam final was “Wonderful, tied again”. She doesn’t like tiebreaks either. when looking at her bronze, she thought of the “sweat angel” and how the work was worth it

– In the training gym before floor finals, Aly told Mihai that she didn’t want to do her punch front, but Mihai said “Today is not the day to be a chicken”

– Her floor routine felt effortless and powerful and she didn’t feel any nerves that time

– After her floor routine, Aliya told her “That was the best floor routine I’ve ever seen” and Aly thanked her and said “You’ve done great, too” AWWWW

– While on the floor podium, Aly thought of Lilia and how she watched her as a young girl and dreamed of winning floor like her. She also thought of her coaches and family and everything they had done for her.

– Aly also mentions that she watched Catalina over and over again and admired her a lot while growing up (she used Cata’s 2004 floor music for her first optional routine!) and it was amazing to win a medal next to one of her idols <3

– At a press conference, an Israeli reporter asked her if she wanted to dedicate her gold to the athletes who died at the 1972 terrorist attack in Munich and she said yes but didn’t fully realize the impact she had on the Jewish community (she said people still talk to her about it today)

– Towards the end of the games, Aly moved to a hotel room with her mom and spent some days doing touristy things and hanging out. She also went to the mall with her teammates and says that her mom was recognized a lot because of the viral video.

– She and the Octagon team went to watch the gold medal soccer match and she got the spectator experience. There was a montage of athletes playing before the event that she had never seen before, but she saw herself there and that’s when it sunk in that she was an Olympian.