TSA Body Shames Three-Time Olympic Gold Medal Gymnast

Aly Raisman was captain of the 2012 and 2016 U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics team. She won gold in the team and floor competitions and bronze on the balance beam in 2012 and gold in the team event in 2016.

Going through TSA though, the employees there don’t think much of her physique as she shared on Twitter.

Aside from being fundamentally absurd that the TSA body builders at the checkpoint were getting all judgmental on her, commenting on the bodies of passengers is offensive and doubly inappropriate coming from government agents.

Raisman, who turned 23 Thursday, says she works “very hard to be healthy & fit.”

…She continued, “He was very rude. Staring at me shaking his head like it couldn’t be me because I didn’t look ‘strong enough’ to him? Not cool.”

In this case it’s as if Alice Eve showed up at the security checkpoint in She’s Out of My League and Jay Baruchel decided to mock the image of her in the nude-o-scope.

I’ve been working out with a trainer, including weight training, twice a week. And I have a treadmill in my office that I walk on while I type. But ultimately the median TSA employee looks more like me than an Olympic gold medalist. And I certainly won’t mock the muscles on an Olympian.

Fortunately the medalist didn’t have her vacation ruined by the experience.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Ah… just another uneducated jealousy from another commoners. They do that because that is the only place they can do it (showing of they have authority). No big deal…..

  2. Slow news day? Must be pretty hard-up if this is the best you can come up with.

    We don’t know the entire interaction. Pulling two sentences out of context doesn’t even begin to tell the whole picture. It’s like Gary pulling a turd out of his but and saying it was the French fry he ate for lunch.

    It takes a special kind of snowflake / whiny little biatch to cry about muscles which may or may not be noticeable after all.

  3. It’s an amusing story, and an AWESOME opportunity to share a clip from She’s Out of My League. Any post with Alice Eve is ok in my book.

  4. @J.C. Slow trolling day? Must be pretty hard-up if you have nothing better to do than make stupid scatalogical comments on a blog you so clearly hate.

  5. Why has nobody mentioned that it is not only unprofessional but may even violate TSA employment regulations to make personal comments to a customer/client/passenger?

    I cannot imagine working at Target as a cashier, for example, or Starbucks as a barista, and saying to my customer: “What, you’re a gymnast? I don’t believe it. No muscles, no biceps,” without some kind of recrimination, and possibly even being suspended or fired. To refer to ANY member of the public in ANY PERSONAL way, while on the job and serving the public, has always been a no-no.

  6. @ Ken: Obviously you missed the ESP classes. Take a refresher then maybe you’ll finally pass your GED.

  7. @ Gary: I am glad to see that you are working out, to some extent. Frankly, for some time, I’ve noticed a change in your appearance from past published photos, somewhat concerning. Keep at it.

  8. @Kimmie —> EXACTLY RIGHT!

    @Ken —> Spot on, as well.

    @J.C. —> It may or may not be a “slow news day,” but that doesn’t make the TSA employee’s behavior any more or less acceptable, does it? “Oh, it’s a slow news day, better not **** up today, or it will get reported,” said no one ever!

  9. Notice that she didn’t say the woman or rude man were TSA agents in that tweet or her several followups, referring simply to the “man” not “agent” or “officer.” While some news outlets reported the story using similar general terms, most others leaped to the conclusion that he was a TSA agent, a juicier story of course.

  10. Great clip. I’ll seek out the movie. Regarding appalling TSA rudeness, it’s been going on since the beginning and if anything I expect it soon to grow worse. Actually, given the direction provided almost daily by the White House, I’d expect to see more of that from all federal employees in the days ahead. But how did these particularly nettlesome, needlessly nosy and uniformed minions come to know of the passenger’s past Olympic glory in the first place?

  11. I weight lift, so I’m obviously pretty muscular. I’ve had multiple TSA agents comment on my physique, especially when those body scanners were “new” and my shoulders would set it off.

    For ME personally, I’ve never been bothered by it. They were always polite, never rude, just basic small talk. A couple guys who also trained asked about specific exercises, etc… This case is really just about specific guy being a douchebag. I’m usually all-in when it comes to bashing the whole security theater aspect of the TSA, but this time – It’s really just one specific person acting unprofessional.

  12. It’s great we have a new word “snowflake” to immediately alert us that the person sneering it is a 300 pound hick redneck troll who only goes out to go to Trump rallies to shove around black girls peacefully protesting the most hated man on earth’s appearance on their own campus.

    Those of us raised there know that the only reason most hicks are even involved in politics is because they believe a bunch of lies talk radio and Faux news told them and think they’re on a heroic deranged mission to take back their country. Examples of what they believe are that Hillary Clinton murdered dozens of people and ran a child sex ring out of a DC Pizza Parlor which caused one Buford to shoot it up with his assault rifle. This is who 30 of the 40% are. They teach in the schools in Spain, UK, Australia and Japan that these rednecks are the stupidest people in the world who have utterly ruined the US democracy.

  13. OMG! The horror! On this slow news day, this article shows how we can all claim to have become a victim. Lawsuits to immediately follow.

  14. Gary,
    Have no idea why you put up with these trolls. Your blog is your “home.” No real benefit from unpleasant guests.
    I have no idea from where these “awful TSA” stories emerge.
    It is obviously a massive organization, but, my interactions (mostly at DFW) have been characterized by delightful, gracious individuals trying to follow guidelines imposed upon them (and us.)
    If one is looking for an excuse to be rude, or be offended, it seems it can be easily created.
    And for whatever it may be worth, Gary, thanks for the blog, and your generous sharing of your wisdom and experience is priceless, even if some people here might make it feel at times like you are “casting pearls before swine.”

  15. The only thing more more pathetic than the perpetually-offended snowflakes are the Trump Derangement Syndrome sufferers who perpetuate it.

  16. Way to go Pete and Greg! Was waiting for the usual political comments regarding Trump!!! The TSA has been been a problem child since day one, (including the last 8 years…..yawn).
    Why don’t you find another blog to put in your usual stupid remarks.

  17. So she pulls a “Do you know who I am?” And the TSA guy doesn’t give a shit. Go back to complaining about Trump.

  18. Nothing is more satisfying than Trumplicker disapproval. To know that people who are held in lower esteem worldwide than terrorists don’t like me makes my snowflake glisten.

    Go back to stuffing bags of Cheetos in your 100 pound face, lardazzes. Maybe you’ll turn orange like your daddy.

  19. @ Jason Brandt Lewis:

    The simple fact is we don’t know what preceded the two lonely sentences attributed to the TSA agents. Or do you have inside information that neither we nor Gary has? For all we really know, the verbal exchange could have been totally appropriate and Raisman a man-hater / SJW / snowflake / mistaken / whatever.

    On the other hand, what we do know is that Gary has to pump out a certain number of posts every day and generate a certain number of clicks to stay relevant. We know he despises the TSA, more than likely because he can’t play the DYKWIA game with them.

  20. I’m sorry, J.C., but I always believed Winston Churchill was correct when he said that one should “[n]ever engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed man.”

  21. @ Jason Brandt Lewis: So I guess that means you also don’t know WTF you are talking about and basing your absurd conclusions on two sentences likely taken out of context. Par for the course for you, Jason.

    I should have known you’d stoop to pulling stories out of your arse. Historians have thoroughly debunked the claims that your quote is attributable to Churchill. Please stick to something at which you have a reasonable chance of success such as precisely pouring milk over a bowl of cold cereal.

  22. @J.C. —> Over the years, that particular quote (or variations thereof) has been variously attributed to William Shakespeare, Abby Buchanan Longstreet, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Winston Churchill, A.A. Milne, Walt Kelly, and Walter Winchell, among many others . . . it’s rather besides the point, don’t you think?

    Be that as it may, since you seem to persist in focusing on the trivial, feel free — and be secure in the knowledge that your freedom to post such drivel is limited only by bandwidth and Gary’s tolerance.

    The TSA — and to be fair, it might not even have been the TSA; it could have been a private contractor working on behalf of the TSA¹ — is one f’d up group of people. While any one individual can have a bad day, and I choose to believe that most individuals on this planet at least attempt to do good, TSA agents miss an overwhelming majority of $#|+ they’re supposed to be able to stop; they are consistently inefficient, consistently ill-mannered, frequently abusive, and consistently inconsistent! (Three times in three weeks at the same airport, I was given different information on how to proceed through the checkpoint — and these “rules” were different than at other airports.)

    TSA personnel have repeatedly terrified young teenage and pre-teenage girls (including mine as well as friends) for no apparent reason. TSA personnel have often been charged criminally with crimes ranging from illegal gambling rings, theft from luggage of money and electronics, child porn, sexual assault, possession of and/or smuggling drugs, trafficking illegal aliens, taking photographs up women’s skirts — the list goes on and on. And you find it difficult to believe that a TSA agent is going to stare at a young woman to the point of being rude and making her uncomfortable?

    ¹ Private contractors do the work of the TSA at several major (and minor) airports.

  23. I go through TSA checkpoints at least monthly and never see anything other than expedited professionalism. They seem to go out of their way to be friendly and courteous. I often have conversations with them during the process and they are easy to converse with. I forget to thank them enough for being our first line of defense so that planes are not routinely blown out of the sky. Thus disparagement and cynicism is as self-defeating as the black lung miners who’d gotten health care under Obama for the first time, had their death rate cut in half but marched to the polls to vote nearly unanimously for Donald Trump. In America we have a segment who are too dumb to even save themselves, and about to take us all down with them.

  24. This is just a normal reaction. People don’t always ‘want to be nice’. Sometimes they just say it how they see it and it’s tough as a passenger. I’ve seen these kind of remarks a lot of the time, and it’s just people not caring.

    I don’t see how she needs validation from these people. She’s an successful athlete who has done great things that many people dream of. She is mentally strong to train everyday and put her body through this. But emotionally, maybe she is normal and sad about this kind of reaction. I would only say that as you get older, you get used to this kind of ‘poor, but inoffensive reaction’.

    I agree it’s not something that should be commented on by these TSA, but hey, we don’t live in a perfect world and ‘shit happens all the time’ that shouldn’t. For sure it won’t be the first time this guy’s upset someone in his job and sure they’ve been many ‘victims’ since. Don’t let it get to you people.

  25. Somebody stared at a traveler’s muscles, and it makes the news? Why would people talk about that? How embarrassing that nothing else matters in the world but that. I also don’t need to see PDA on a travel blog. As a female who has been objectified for years, i recognize the stupidity of this article. One gymnast has muscles? Do you realize how many other people in the world have muscles and have used them to save lives? Meanwhile, I’m supposed to be interested in 1 celebrity who got her muscles looked at and then blogged about it?

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