The gymnasts testifying today have all previously spoken publicly about being the victims of former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar’s abuse. Nassar, who also worked for Michigan State University, touched athletes inappropriately under the guise of performing medical treatments on them.
Simone Biles — a winner of seven Olympic medals, as well as several world and national championships — revealed this year that she was motivated to compete in the Tokyo Summer Olympics in part because it would force the sport to confront its shortcomings in protecting its athletes.
“I feel like if there weren’t a remaining survivor in the sport, they would’ve just brushed it to the side,” Biles told NBC’s Hoda Kotb. “But since I’m still here, and I have quite a social media presence and platform, they have to do something.”
Aly Raisman — who won Olympic medals in 2012 and 2016 — has also been vocal in criticizing how Nassar and others were allowed to get away with abusing gymnasts for so long, telling CNN’s “New Day” in March:
“Monsters don’t thrive for decades without the help of people.”
Raisman, fellow Olympian McKayla Maroney and Maggie Nichols, who competed on the USA’s 2015 world championship team, all made public statements in the court proceedings against Nassar.
Nichols reported Nassar to US Gymnastics in 2015, alleging that his inappropriate touching started when she was 15 and that he also sent her Facebook messages complimenting her looks.
They will now be speaking to the Senate as lawmakers pressure the Justice Department to take more steps to address the lapses in its Nassar investigation.