Aly Raisman, whose real name is Alexandra Rose Raisman, posed topless in the latest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. The 22-year-old gymnast spoke out after she was criticized for not covering up her body. She spoke out against what people said about her not being a good role model. In essence, she said being a good role model is about being a kind person rather than the way she expresses herself clothed or unclothed. Aly indicated that she expected the backlash. She wasn't surprised, and it doesn't bothered her.

This was not the first time Raisman has appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Earlier in 2017, she and teammate Simone Biles appeared together.

However, they were not topless at the time.

Aly's interview

During an interview with Motto, Aly said she did the shoot because she loves her body. She believes women can be proud of their bodies and still be role models. She added that no one has the right to judge her for posing topless. She emphasized that women can be respected without being modest.

The outspoken gymnast hasn't always thought and talked this way. She felt insecure about her body when she was growing up. She would never have posed topless then. She said it was a long time coming, and it wasn't easy. However, she has learned to appreciate her body. She gained the confidence to appreciate her body and was able to show it off as she got older. She believes young girls should be taught early to love their body no matter what type it is.

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Besides, their bodies change as they grow up just as hers did. Therefore, it is no real reason to expect every girl's body to look the same.

Gymnast's mission

Aly took the time during the interview to speak about how girls might be feeling about the pressures they encounter on social media. She pointed out how girls compare themselves to other girls. Aly said it would be boring if everyone looked the same.

Raisman was very passionate about the challenges females face, especially young girls. She seems to be on a mission to help young girls overcome insecurities about body image. She wants them to be empowered to accept their bodies the way they are just as she has learned to accept hers.

The "Dancing with the Stars" alum danced in skimpy outfits when she was a contestant during Season 16 in 2013. She was partnered with professional dancer Mark Ballas. They did not become champions and win the Mirror Ball Trophy. They were eliminated one week before the semi-finals.

Surely, parts of her body are seen when she performs as a two-time Olympic gymnast. She was captain of both the 2012 and 2016 Olympic gymnastics team representing the United States.