“Fierce” Ch. 17 + 18

Aly’s life after the games, mainly focusing on the Tour of Champions and DWTS.

– Obama told McKayla that he made her “not impressed” face at least twice a day when his advisors told him something

– The Fierce Five got a tour bus all to themselves. They’d stay up late, get to the next city at around 4 AM, go to the hotel to sleep for 4-5 hours, grab breakfast, rehearse, and perform. Aly mentions that there was pressure for them to do difficult skills, but it wasn’t wise for them to attempt these skills because of the intense schedule and absence of the coaches.

– The shows were Thurs – Sun nights, and Aly spent Mon – Wed traveling to make appearances, speak, do a photoshoot, etc. She often spoke at Jewish Community Centers, and an Israeli Defense Force soldier posted a letter thanking her for dedicating her win to the Munich victim. Her rabbi also got a letter from the daughter of a holocaust survivor. The woman’s mother said that she never thought she’d see a Jew at the Olympics performing to Hava Nagila “in front of Russians, Germans, and people of all nations, and it was no big deal, everyone is ok with it”. That’s when Aly realized that she was also representing the Jewish community whenever she competed.

– Aly mentions that their routines for Tour were watered down, but they were still pressured to do difficult skills flawlessly every day with weird lighting. She also says that she didn’t bring her grips to tour because she wasn’t expecting to do bars and didn’t want to do them. She didn’t feel safe without Mihai, but the tour directors told her that everyone had to do bars no matter what.

– She saw McKayla get injured on bars and thought that it was her duty to provide a distraction. She was freaked out and upset and couldn’t think straight, so she fell on a shaposh. Her lower half landed where there was no mat, so her knees smacked the concrete. She says that she wishes she could have crawled out of the concrete, but the floor hurt her kneecaps too much, so she walked over to the chalk bowl in pain and waited for someone to come over and get her. Nobody came because there were very few people on the medical staff and they were all with McKayla. Aly limped over to one of the creative directors, who told her to go back and finish her routine. She says “I couldn’t believe that after asking not to do bars, asking for more mats, and then being injured because neither request was met, now I was being told to just go back out there”. She limped around the hallway by herself for minutes before she found the training room, where she collapsed onto a table next to McKayla and finally got ice when the ambulance came to get Mac. Aly was very angry that there weren’t sufficient mats, and she and her mom wondered why the performance setup didn’t match a competition’s. Lynn also told her to speak up whenever something didn’t seem right, and Mihai urged her to stay away from difficult skills on bars

– She and Gabby made appearances at the 2013 American Cup, and Aly asked Gabby if she missed competing. Gabby shook her head and said that she needs a break, and Aly agreed that she wasn’t ready to compete again either.

– Aly and the other DWTS contestants got along very well. She mentions that many of them had preconceived notions about Andy Dick but he turned out to be one of the kindest people there, which reminded her to reserve judgment and get to know people for who they are: “People can be so quick to judge, but everyone goes through ups and downs in their lives, and it’s important that we all lift one another up”. She also recalls bonding with Kellie Pickler and considered Jacoby Jones like a big brother.

– On Wednesday they would learn what dance they would perform, Thursday – Saturday were rehearsals for 8 hours a day, Sundays were for camera blocking, and dress rehearsals (Aly’s favorite part of the show) were early Monday afternoon.

– When doing an interview for the “most memorable year” week, Aly was surprised at how vulnerable she felt while talking about the aa, which made her feel guilty because she already had 3 medals so “what more could I possibly want?”

– The “Titanium” dance was special because she had listened to that song before training every day in London, and it reminded her how strong she really was.

– On the day of the Boston Marathon bombing, Aly was glued to her phone throughout practice, reading updates and texting family and friends back home.

– Aly saw a lot of the comments that people posted on Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube especially about her body and weight. She knew that her figure had filled out after the games, and she obsessed over how she looked since the cameras captured everything. She knew that for every negative comment, there were thousands of positive ones, but the mean ones would still hurt and she’d find themselves thinking about them for days. She and Samantha Peszek talked about it, and Aly said “It’s like people assume that the more followers you have, the fewer feelings you have,” and stated that even thought she shouldn’t care what others were saying, she felt anxious to open her social media because she was worried someone would say something rude about her. Sam assured her that everyone went through weight gains and that it was completely natural.

– Everyone on DWTS was like a family. The experience taught her that having fun and making new friends is more important than worrying about looks and perception. It helped her come out of her shell on camera and meet a new group of people.