In January 2018 Simone Biles explained that he had been abused by Larry Nassar, the American Gymnastics Team Doctor sentenced to decades in jail for abusing at least 265 girls. Last year the gymnast charged against the Federation for trying to avoid an independent investigation to punish those who knew about the abuses of this sexual predator. A Federation to which he gave his last Olympic medal in Tokyo on the balance beam, after giving up the other finals to prioritize his mental health. This Wednesday he burst into tears when he testified before the Senate about the abuses of which he was a victim and charged against the inaction of the Federation and the US Olympic Committee.
“I believe without a shadow of a doubt that the circumstances that led to my abuse and allowed it to continue are a direct result of the fact that the organizations created by Congress to protect and care for me as an athlete, the Federation and the Committee, failed to fulfill their obligations. work, “he sentenced in his speech, which he had to interrupt with tears. “I don’t want another young gymnast, Olympian or anyone else to have to suffer the horror that I and hundreds of others have had to go through before, during and to this day. To be clear I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame to the entire system that allowed and perpetrated that abuse. USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee they knew I was being abused by the official team doctor long before I knew they knew. ”
That Senate committee wants to clarify why the FBI office in Indianapolis – where the Gymnastics Federation is based – responded inadequately and slowly to the first allegations of sexual abuse against Nassar, allowing the former doctor to continue committing the abuses.
In addition to Biles, this Wednesday other athletes who were victims of Nassar also testified: McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols y Aly Raisman. In May 2015, Nichols confessed to his coach that the team doctor, Larry Nassar, he had sexually assaulted her. Then the president of the federation, Steve PennyHe assured her and her parents that he would initiate an internal investigation, and that he would report the accusation to the FBI; all they got from USAG, however, was silence and abuse continued, as Maroney, Nichols, Raisman and Biles have claimed. The latter explained that although Nichols told her coach in 2015 that she suspected that Simone had also been a victim of abuse, the FBI did not contact her or her parents until after the Rio 2016 Games, where Biles won five medals.
“The scars are still with us”
In a recent interview with Vogue magazine, Biles revealed that when the Tokyo Olympics were postponed for a year, she was “devastated” by the prospect of having to spend another year with the American gymnastics federation. Simone has reported that “the scars remain with us”, that “the impacts of these abuses are never overcome or forgotten” and how they affected her preparation for the Tokyo Games. “The postponement made me go to the gym and to therapy with the daily memory of this fact for 365 more days. One of the things that kept me going every day was not making this case ignored. It was a very heavy burden to carry.” .
Biles is one of 140 athletes who have filed a complaint against the American Olympic Committee and her country’s Gymnastics Federation. After his appearance, Dick Durbin, representing the Senate judicial committee, thanked the four athletes for their courage. “Thank you for your testimony, it has been historic, and it will make a difference in the lives of many people who are watching it. They do not have to wait for the judges to put their notes, they have all won a gold medal in the cause of justice” .