Aly Raisman's Message to Boys Who Made Fun of Her Muscles: 'Thanks for Forcing Me to Learn to Love Myself'
By Tina Smithers Peckham
Aly Raisman has a little something to say to her childhood bullies.
The two-time Olympic gymnast took to social media this week to speak out on body positivity, thanking the boys who used to poke fun at her for being athletic. Their harsh words forced the 22-year-old to learn to love and embrace her body, muscles and all.
"Shoutout to all the boys from 5th-9th grade who made fun of me for being 'too strong,'" Raisman wrote on Instagram, alongside a black and white photo of herself. "Thanks for forcing me to learn to love myself and my body. My muscular arms that were considered weird and gross when I was younger have made me one of the best gymnasts on the planet."
Truer words were never spoken, as the Olympic superstar dominated the women's gymnastics competition at the 2016 Rio Olympics in August as a member of the U.S. women's gymnastics team, better known as the "Final Five," taking home the gold in the team finals.
Raisman, who joined Reebok's #PerfectNever campaign, is also encouraging other females to embrace their own body types. "Don't ever let anyone tell you how you should or shouldn't look," she added. "There is no such thing as a perfect body type. I love being a part of the #PerfectNever campaign. #GirlPower#Supporteachother."
The former Dancing With the Stars contestant has long been an advocate for body positivity, posing nude in the 2015 Body Issue of ESPN The Magazine.
"As a gymnast you use every part of your body," Raisman said. "Even the pinky toe is important. Every part of your body has to be really strong in order to take a rough fall."