USA Gymnastics star Simone Biles joined the list of athletes accusing the team’s former doctor of sexual abuse. The 20-year-old Biles, who captured four gold medals on her way to becoming the breakout star of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, shared her story Monday on Twitter:
Here is her full statement:
Most of you know me as a happy, giggly and energetic girl. But lately … I’ve felt a bit broken and the more I try to shut off the voice in my head, the louder it screams. I am not afraid to tell my story any more.
I too am one of the survivors of that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar. Please believe me when I say it was a lot harder to first speak those words out loud that it is now to put them on paper. There are many reasons that I have been reluctant to share my story, but I know now it is not my fault.
It is not normal to receive any type of treatment from a trusted team physician and refer to it horrifyingly as the “special” treatment. This behavior is completely unacceptable, disgusting, and abusive, especially coming from someone I was TOLD to trust.
For too long I’ve asked myself, “Was I too naive? Was it my fault?” I now know the answer to those questions. No. No, it was not my fault. No, I will not and should not carry the guilt that belongs to Larry Nassar, UASG and others.
It is impossibly difficult to relive these experiences and it breaks my heart even more to think that as I work towards my dream of competing in Tokyo 2020, I will have to continually return to the same training facility where I was abused.
After hearing the brave stories of my friends and other survivors, I know that this horrific experience does not define me. I am unique, smart, talented, motivated and passionate. I have promised myself that my story will be much greater than this and I promise all of you that I will never give up. I will compete with all my heart and soul every time I step into the gym. I love this sport too much and I have never been a quitter. I won’t let one man and the others that enable him to steal my love and joy.
We need to know why this was able to take place for so long and for so many of us. We need to make sure something like this never happens again.
As I continue to work through the pain, I kindly ask everyone to respect my privacy. This is a process and one that I need more time to work through.
XO, Simone Biles
Nassar, 54, was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison last month on child pornography charges. He served as the team doctor for USA Gymnastics for two decades from 1996 to 2015, when Team USA fired him “after learning of athlete concerns” that led to the organization informing law enforcement.
Nassar was on staff at Michigan State University until late 2016, when The Indianapolis Star first reported the sexual abuse allegations, citing two former gymnasts who said he molested them in the 1990s and early 2000s. The number of people accusing Nassar of abuse has risen to more than 150.
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