Raisman, local Olympians honored

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Gold-medal-winning gymnast Aly Raisman was among a group of local Olympians honored by the New England Patriots prior to their preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Gillette Stadium on Monday night.

The 18-year-old Raisman, a native of Needham, Mass., won two gold medals and a bronze medal at the recent Olympic games in London. She was captain of the United States gymnastics team.

She was joined on the field prior to the game by swimmer Elizabeth Beisel (North Kingstown, R.I.), judoka Kayla Harrison (Wakefield, Mass.) and basketball player Asjha Jones (UConn, Connecticut Sun). Also invited was Jones' teammate Tina Charles, who was unable to attend.

"I've been to a couple of games, but not a lot, and I haven't been for a while since I was so busy training," Raisman said. "But I've never been down on the field like that, so that was really amazing. It gave me the chills, just because it brought back memories of competing at the Olympics."

The Olympians greeted Patriots players as they left the field following pregame warmups. Raisman watched the game from the suite of owner Robert Kraft. Unlike the local Olympians who joined her, Raisman decided against bringing her medals to the game.

"I don't really like to bring them out too many places," Raisman said. "I'm just so nervous -- I'm very protective over them."

Raisman, who said she has been on "cloud nine" since returning from London, will be honored in a parade through her hometown of Needham on Sunday.

"I don't really know what to expect. I hope that a lot of people show up, which I'm sure," she said. "All my friends back home have been so supportive. So I'm really excited about it, and I'm sure a lot of my teammates from Burlington will be there."