Aly Raisman discusses Week 5 of 'Dancing With the Stars'

The Times has gymnast Aly Raisman, a two-time Olympic gold medalist at the London Games, guest-blogging 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 5 and her pro partner Mark Ballas, which she offered via email.

Q. You said Mark’s really good at being sassy. Do you think there is any way you can sneak him onto the women’s gymnastics team?

Lol, no! Mark is an amazing dancer but not a gymnast. I'm not even sure he can do a cartwheel! I'll have to give him some lessons, or maybe Len can since he gave me some tips and is apparently an expert on the "back flopper.” It has become a running joke between Len and I now.  I'm not sure where he came up with the name “back flopper,” but it always makes me laugh!

Q. Mark is a veteran of the show. What is the most surprising thing you have learned about him?

Mark is an amazing teacher. He always knows how to keep things fun, but at the same time, he can be tough and often pushes me so that I can improve. Mark is also so funny and has a great personality. I guess I never expected us to become so close but we have! We are such great friends, and I am so happy that we have a great connection.

Q. You consider Boston to be your hometown, so performing a dance on Monday must have seemed a bit strange considering the tragedy at the Boston Marathon earlier that day.

 Yes, performing on Monday was very difficult for me. I haven't been able to stop thinking about the tragedy since I first heard the news in our dress rehearsal. It is so heartbreaking and terrible. My heart goes out to everyone back home in Boston and anyone else who was affected by [Monday's] incident.

Q. If you had a choice, would you rather dance first and get it over with, or dance last and see how everyone else did?

I would rather go first! I am used to going last in gymnastics. I love going last because you have enough time to prepare and to check out the competition, but here on "DWTS" it's a little different. I don't consider this as much of a competition because I've just been having so much fun! I just love cheering everyone on, and the show and atmosphere are both amazing. It's exciting for to me to see everyone improve so much each week! I love this show and I’m having a blast!

You can follow Aly Raisman on Twitter at @aly raisman.


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