NEEDHAM (CBS) — August 27 was declared “Aly Raisman Day” as the town of Needham welcomed home an Olympic hero.

Crowds greeted Aly Raisman at the “Rally for Aly” on Needham’s town common Saturday morning, celebrating the gymnast who won two silver medals and one team gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics this month.

“Thank you all so much for coming today,” said Aly, who grew up in Needham and was in class of 2012, from the podium.

WBZ’s Mike Riley was the master of ceremonies.

Raisman, who arrived at the rally on top of a firetruck, told reporters it still hasn’t sunk in that she’s a two-time Olympic medalist.

“It’s hard to process it all,” Raisman said of her Olympic experience. “I really used to look up to Shannon Miller, I have my whole life. So to be able to be even in the same sentence as her, right behind her, it’s really crazy. I can’t believe it.”

She said her entire Olympic experience was surreal, and very hard to put into words.

“I’ve spent so much time stressing about competing, and then it actually just all came together,” she said. “It’s very special just because I worked so hard to get to this point.”

One young supporter had a special request for Raisman.

“I saw a lot of little girls out there,” Raisman said. “So it’s definitely really crazy, because I remember being that little girl, so it’s really special to me.”

During the rally Aly took some questions from her fans and shared some great advice for young fans who hope day follow in her shoes.

“The best advice I would give is that the harder days always make you stronger,” she said. “If you always had a perfect day or a good day, you’d never be able to improve.”

“I think gymnastics is one of those sports where you tune in once every four years, so you don’t see all the hard work and everything that goes into it,” she added.

Aly thanked her coach her parents and her fans for their incredible support.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports

 

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