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Aly Raisman Steps Out With Her Man

The Olympic medalist was wooed by football player Colton Underwood via video months ago. Now they’re dating.

by
Rachel Shukert
December 14, 2016
Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated
Football Player Colton Underwood and Olympic Gymnast Aly Raisman attend the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year Ceremony at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, December 12, 2016. Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated
Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated
Football Player Colton Underwood and Olympic Gymnast Aly Raisman attend the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year Ceremony at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, December 12, 2016. Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated

You guys! Remember last week, when I wrote about Jewish Olympian and gymnastics superstar Aly Raisman and her participation in Reebok’s #PerfectNever campaign, which promotes positive body image and athleticism among young women? Well, I should have slapped a giant “Developing Story” chyron crawl on it, because guess what! There’s more Aly news to be had for you insatiable Raismanettes (a word I just made up, say it out loud): She has a boyfriend!

So who is the lucky fellow? His name is Colton Underwood, and he’s an NFL free agent tight-end—a phrase that brings to mind all kinds of jacket copy on those kind of video tapes they don’t make anymore because of the internet. Earlier this year, Underwood asked Raisman out via Yahoo video chat, so while social media has basically destroyed the world in 2016, I guess it did one OK thing.

The two made their public debut as an official couple Monday at the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year Awards, but have apparently been dating since the VMAs. (Oh, to date one’s life by the milestones of second-tier awards shows!) Raisman will be spending the holidays—and yes, if you’re keeping track, that means Christmas—with Underwood’s family (it’s presumably relatively quiet around the Raisman house, so that’s one less thing to argue about in the years to come) so I guess that means it’s pretty serious.

I suppose I could nitpick about Raisman’s choices here: Couldn’t she find a nice Jewish boy, or somebody who was actually signed to an NFL team, or just in less immediate jeopardy of one day developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy? But right now, with the world what it is, who cares?

This Underwood boy is brutally adorable, she looks radiant and happy in the cocktail version of one of the bedazzled leotards she does her floor routines in, and I hope they have fun together. Honestly, I’m just happy to see Raisman with a boyfriend, particularly one she feels comfortable enough to be seen with in public. Female gymnasts are typically kept in an arrested state of girlhood (often because they are, for all intents and purposes, still little girls)—all hair ribbons and bouncy ponytails and big grins that hide the weeping blisters and excruciating ACL tears, with their bodies desexualized by their tininess and muscularity. We hear as a matter of course how they have sacrificed all the normal rites of adolescence—significant others, parties, experimentation with various intoxicants—for the sake of their sport.

So it’s nice to see Aly, who has said repeatedly her idea of a good time is sitting at home in a hot bath with a cup of tea after a long day in the gym, letting her hair down, having some fun, and looking and acting like the 22-year-old woman she is. I can’t wait to see them together at the SAG Awards.

Rachel Shukert is the author of the memoirs Have You No Shame? and Everything Is Going To Be Great,and the novel Starstruck. She is the creator of the Netflix show The Baby-Sitters Club, and a writer on such series as GLOW and Supergirl. Her Twitter feed is @rachelshukert.

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