Three-time Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman criticized both USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee for their response to the sport’s sexual abuse crisis, saying she feels as if they’re more concerned about sweeping it under the rug or protecting themselves legally than making sure it never happens again.
“But I don’t support how USA Gymnastics is handling everything right now.”
Larry Nassar pleaded guilty last month to federal child pornography charges, and faces 22 to 27 years in prison when he’s sentenced Nov. 27. He still faces 33 charges of criminal sexual conduct in Michigan, and has been sued by more than 125 women and girls who said Nassar sexually abused them during medical appointments.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re the Olympic champion or you’re an 8-year-old that goes to gymnastics in Ohio, or wherever you are in the United States,” Raisman said. “Every single kid is important, and I want USA Gymnastics to do a better job with that.”
Raisman declined to detail her interactions with Nassar, saying she preferred to focus on the scandal and its overall impact.
“I just would like a little more accountability from USA Gymnastics and the USOC,” she said. “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 to change.’ “
“We welcome (Raisman’s) passion on this critical issue,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement. “As we have said, we are appalled by the conduct of which Larry Nassar is accused. And, we are sorry that any athlete has been harmed during her or his gymnastics career.
“We are taking this issue head-on, and we want to work with Aly and all interested athletes to keep athletes safe.”
“It can’t just be about we’re making sure the athletes feel safe now. It has to be going back and apologizing and going to these families and going to all these gymnasts and saying, `What made you feel unsafe? What can we do for the next generation?’” Raisman said. “They need to be calling up all of these people that have come forward and say, ‘Can you please help us and tell us what part of it was wrong? What part made you feel unsafe? What could we do differently?’
“You can’t really create change unless you ask the other gymnasts that have come before, what can they do to help?”
“It’s important to speak up for something and it’s right. It’s the right thing,” she said. “More people need to talk about it and I just feel that it’s not getting enough attention in the sport. That’s what bothers me. I want these young girls to know. It should have never ever happened and I think that needs to be discussed more.”