“Fierce” Ch. 7 + 8

Aly’s senior debut in 2010 and her experiences at Jesolo, Melbourne, and Rotterdam.

TW: there’s a part where someone is shamed for eating pizza, and Larry Nassar makes his debut (there’s nothing graphic though). I’m not sure what to tag these as but just keep that in mind if you read!

– At the 2010 American Cup, Aly’s dad told her “Do your talking on the floor”

– At the Jesolo banquet, Aly took a slice of pizza. A national staff member (who she doesn’t name) took her aside and angrily told her that they were disappointed to see her eating pizza. They told her “Aly, you are never allowed to do that again, as long as you’re competing” and even asked “Were you using your head at all?” She called her mom crying and spent the rest of the banquet feeling embarrassed. Now, she says that she’s sure they just wanted her to understand that everything she puts into her body affects her performance and that she should eat well, but “this excellent message was so poorly delivered” and “nobody should ever encourage you to deprive yourself of food”. (Note: she mentions that this person was a coach and I don’t wanna make any assumptions but I have a pretty strong hunch about who it was)

– When Aly and her teammates arrived in Melbourne for 2010 Pac Rims, there were security guards with drug sniffing dogs walking around and Aly was scared that they’d sniff out the forbidden snacks that she and her teammates packed. She says that she packed oatmeal, energy bars, trail mix, chocolate, and watermelon Sour Patch kids, which she considered good luck (same Aly), and mentions that one of her teammates had jars of Nutella and peanut butter. She mentions that she and her teammates would have impromptu picnics in their hotel rooms

– Aly’s right hamstring, quads, and back were acting up. Someone noticed her wincing and she came up to Aly and told her that she’d go get Larry Nassar. Aly said she was tired and just wanted to sleep, but the national team staff member insisted that she had to see him, he’s the best doctor out there, and “it’s a huge honor that he agrees to work with the team.” Aly didn’t want to be labeled as uncooperative so she agreed. He gave her a massage and there were two other people in the room and she was wearing leggings, but something about the massage made her feel uncomfortable. She shrugged it off because she kept remembering what the staff member said. In addition, Larry was very understanding and talked to Aly about how USAG went overboard and shouldn’t push their athletes as hard, which made Aly feel grateful that he understood her.

– In practice, Aly was tired because of the jetlag. He did a vault straight to her back, and Mihai told her to do it again. The second time, she did it but underrotated it and almost injured herself. She was shaken up by that and Marta noticed, so she came over and told her “You have to turn the page” which she says is invaluable life advice

– Aly told a trainer that her heel was hurting, but asked her to keep it quiet because she didn’t want to be pulled from the meet. The trainer told Marta and Mihai anyway, and they were upset that she didn’t tell them about it (and in Mihai’s case, hurt).

– At 2010 Nationals, a family sitting behind the Raismans was sure that Aly  would make the Olympic team, so they asked for Brett’s autograph and photos with him. They found Aly’s mom again in 2013 and showed her the pictures.

– After Aly fell on her Amanar at 2010 Nationals, Marta approached her and told her “When you come here unprepared and you fall, you tear your name down”

– A coach began calling Aly “Radar” because of how often she stuck her tumbling on floor, and Marta called her “Miss Consistency”

– In Rotterdam, the USA had early practices and one day they had just finished training ub when a volunteer ran up to them and told them that the bars weren’t completely set up and weren’t anchored to the ground. Marta was in a bad mood because the whole team could have been injured! 

– That night, Larry knocked on her door and said “I thought you could use a massage” 

– Aww, she said Aliya’s floor was “enchanting and beautifully performed”

– Mattie was blamed for the team’s loss, and “some people looked past her like she didn’t exist”. According to Aly, she got the cold shoulder until they returned to Houston, and that was the last elite meet that she ever competed 🙁 Aly doesn’t say if it was coaches or teammates shunning her so I’m guessing it was a mix of both

– After messing up on bars in the aa final, Aly said that she felt defeated and like she didn’t deserve to be there and wasn’t good enough. She blocked out the rest of the meet. Mihai was happy and proud of her because she was young and came out of nowhere to do well with the team.

– Mihai and Silvie are very superstitious. For example, Silvie always has to sit in her ticketed seat while watching a competition.

– When Aly got 4th place in fx finals, she was crushed and wanted to cry, but Mihai told her not to be hard on herself because she did great for her first Worlds. She hoped to never finish 4th again (lol)