The Times is pleased to have gymnast Aly Raisman, a two-time Olympic gold medalist at the London Games, guest-blogging for us while she competes on "Dancing With the Stars." Each week while she competes on the show, Raisman will answer a few questions from Sports Now editor Houston Mitchell and give some insight into the competition. Here are Raisman's thoughts about Week 1, which she offered via email.
Q: If someone told you a year ago you would not only be an Olympic gold medalist, but that you would also be competing on "Dancing With the Stars," what would you have told them?
I don't know if I would have believed them! I still can't believe this is my life right now. I am aware of how unique it is to have this life and I literally stop every day and take it all in. I am so happy and appreciative of all of these amazing opportunities. But the best part of everything is I worked so hard to get to where I am today and it's pretty cool to be able to experience all of this as a result.
Q: As your pro partner, Mark Ballas, pointed out, you are used to hitting your poses sharply, while dancing requires more fluidity. How hard is it to overcome years of gymnastics training, which must be like second nature to you now?
It is hard, but that is what makes doing this show so exciting! I love challenges. If this was easy for me than it wouldn't be fun and exciting! I have never even heard of some of the dances that I am learning! I have absolutely no idea what I am doing! Mark has been so helpful and so great. I feel so close to him, I really feel like we have a great connection on the dance floor.Q: Describe the difference in the nerves and emotions you felt when competing in the Olympics for the first time compared to waiting to come out for your first dance Monday. Was one more nerve-racking than the other?
At the Olympics I felt so excited, honored, and of course nervous to compete. It was such an amazing feeling to be able to represent USA, I felt and still feel so much pride and joy from competing. For DWTS I was nervous because I didn't know what to expect, I felt like I really put myself out there. I felt like I showed a whole new side of me. When I hit the dance floor I just enjoyed myself, the nerves went away! Waiting to go eighth was hard because I had to sit there for an hour and a half and just wait, all I wanted to do was go!
You can follow Aly Raisman on Twitter at @aly_raisman.