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Aly Raisman spurred by London tiebreaker in comeback

Aly Raisman

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02: Alexandra Raisman of the United States competes on the balance beam in the Artistic Gymnastics Women’s Individual All-Around final on Day 6 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on August 2, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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Aly Raisman thinks about how she lost an Olympic all-around medal due to a tiebreaker “all the time” and uses it as motivation in her comeback.

Raisman, 20, finished tied for third with Russian Aliya Mustafina in the London Olympic all-around. Both scored 59.566. The tiebreaker meant subtracting each gymnast’s lowest score from the four apparatuses. That tiebreaker favored Mustafina, dropping Raisman to fourth.

“I think about how painful that was for me,” Raisman said in a USA Gymnastics interview. “It will always bother me.”

Raisman returned to a U.S. national team training camp in October for the first time in more than two years. She’s back on the national team and hoping to become the first U.S. female gymnast to make back-to-back Olympic teams since Amy Chow and Dominique Dawes in 1996 and 2000.

“I still feel like it’s almost never enough,” Raisman, who won team and floor exercise gold and balance beam bronze in London, said of her desire to return. “You can still try for more.”

Raisman has said her goal is to return as an all-around gymnast. No more than two gymnasts per nation can compete in the all-around final at a World Championships or Olympics.

The world’s best all-around gymnast is an American, two-time reigning World champion Simone Biles. Biles’ presence, along with Raisman’s Olympic teammates Kyla Ross and another woman planning a comeback, London all-around champion Gabby Douglas, could create quite a competition for those two spots at the 2015 World Championships and/or 2016 Olympics.

That’s not to mention rising junior gymnasts. Raisman was the only member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team who was a senior gymnast two years before the London Games.

She returned to the gym last year, learning from former training partner Alicia Sacramone‘s comeback after taking one year off following the 2008 Olympics. Raisman started out focusing on conditioning and basics and short gym sessions.

“My goal is to be more confident than last time,” said Raisman, who added she already accomplished her dream, winning an Olympic gold medal. “I want to do it to prove to myself that I can do it again. And if I don’t, then that’s OK. At least I know that I tried.”

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