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I know what you’re thinking – Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman doesn’t have a Jew-fro; the gymnast has perfectly straight hair. Well, let me clear something up. Underneath all that gel and spray is a Jew-fro waiting to get out.
Or so I think. I really have no idea what her hair is like. Admittedly, I’m just jumping on the Olympics bandwagon to appease the gods of SEO. (London! Gold! Doping! Phelps!). But the recent attention on this 18-year-old gymnast also gives me the opportunity to say how great it is that someone from our tribe has done so well in an athletic competition.
Jewish athletes are few and far between – and usually the most successful ones are men. As for Jewish women, well, let’s just say unless they start awarding gold medals for mahjong or pushing their way to the front of the line at a buffet, they are pretty underrepresented in the world of sports.
Now along comes this talented gymnast with the most yiddishe punam you’ve ever seen, who wins two golds and a bronze in front of the world. And if that weren’t enough, she won one of those golds by doing a floor exercise to Hava Nagila! And if that weren’t enough, she also paid tribute to the Israeli athletes who were murdered at the ’72 Munich Olympics, giving a slap in the face to the IOC who chose not to acknowledge the 40-year anniversary of that event.
Wow – this Aly Raisman is quite the overachiever – a goody goody even. But she’s a little too perfect, don’t you think? Like, despite the hours and hours she spends training, you just know she’s also a straight-A student and volunteers at a soup kitchen in her spare time.
It’s great that Jewish children have a such a good role model and everything, but I think she’s setting expectations a little too high. Jewish parents around the world will now be asking their kids, “Why can’t you be more like that nice Raisman girl who won all those medals at the Olympics – and [most likely] calls her grandparents every day?” And knowing they will never match those achievements, we’ll see a generation of Jews even more insecure and neurotic than us from the current crop.