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    Aly Raisman on the meaning of ‘fierce’

    Aly Raisman during her talk at Faneuil Hall on Tuesday.
    Ben Esakof
    Aly Raisman during her talk at Faneuil Hall on Tuesday.

    Aly Raisman may be a world-class gymnast, but there’s at least one sport at which she says she does not excel: tennis.

    The Needham native discussed a wide range of topics during her talk at the Forbes Under 30 Summit at Faneuil Hall Tuesday, including what she does in her spare time when she’s not training and her plans for competing at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

    Raisman confirmed that the 2020 Olympics are “on her mind,” but said that she hasn’t begun training in earnest. Instead, she said she’s finding joy in being able to exercise without any expectations.


    “My whole entire life since I was 8, I was told I needed to stop other sports and just to focus on gymnastics,” Raisman told Forbes digital managing editor Caroline Howard. “So I’m kind of trying to do other stuff. I like boxing. I started taking tennis lessons. I’m really bad at tennis lessons.

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    “I’ve just been working out for the joy of it,” Raisman continued. “It’s nice to not have to work out to try to be perfect all the time. I can work out and try different things.”

    Raisman’s talk was titled “The Art of Fierce,” a possible callback to the Fierce Five, the name she and her US gymnastics teammates adopted at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, and nod to her upcoming book, “Fierce,’’ to be released in November.

    When asked what the word meant to her in an interview following her talk, Raisman pointed to both adversity and acceptance.

    “I think fierce is about including the best times of your life but also the hardest times of your life,” Raisman said. “Because sometimes I think you’re afraid to show a more vulnerable side of yourself. Accepting who you are, I think, is about being fierce.” (Kevin Slane,