Aly Raisman is tired of waiting to say what must be said about U.S. gymnastics’ worst-ever scandal.
The six-time Olympic medalist ripped USA Gymnastics officials Saturday for their handling of the scandal involving Larry Nassar, who allegedly sexually abused dozens of gymnasts during his 29 years as U.S. women’s team doctor. In an interview with The Associated Press following her induction into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame, Raisman called out the governing body, which oversees the sport in this country, for failing to protect athletes or help them heal.
“I feel like there’s a lot of articles about it, but nobody has said, ‘This is horrible, this is what we’re doing to change,’ ” Raisman said.
“What people don’t realize is that this doctor was a doctor for 29 years. Whether or not he did it to a gymnast, they still knew him. Even if he didn’t do it to you, it’s still the trauma and the anxiety of wondering what could have happened. I think that needs to be addressed. These girls, they should be comfortable going to USA Gymnastics and saying: ‘I need help, I want therapy. I need this.’ ”
Nasser, whom USA Gymnastics fired in 2015, currently is serving a prison sentence in Michigan for his conviction on child pornography charges. He’s also awaiting trial for separate criminal sexual assault charges, and at least 125 women have sued him over similar allegations.
One early plaintiff against Nasser accuses USA Gymnastics officials of ignoring and concealing the abuse, something Raisman echoes.
USA Gymnastics has conducted an independent review of its policies and adopted 70 child-welfare recommendations. The organization said in a statement it welcomes Raisman’s perspective.
“We are taking this issue head-on, and we want to work with Aly and all interested athletes to keep athletes safe,” the statement read.
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