Four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles said Monday that she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics women’s national team physician who has pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct and will be sentenced Thursday in a Michigan state court.
Biles, 20, of Spring, in a message posted Monday afternoon to her Twitter and Instagram accounts, identified herself as one of Nassar’s victims. Her 2016 Olympic teammates Aly Raisman and Gabrielle Douglas and 2012 Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney also have identified themselves as among Nassar’s victims.
She began her message with the word “Feelings” and the #MeToo hashtag that has come to symbolize and the recent movement to battle the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment.
“Most of you know me as a happy, giggly and energetic girl,” Biles wrote. “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 anymore.
“I too am one of the survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar. Please believe me when I say it was a lot harder to speak those words out loud than 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 whom I was TOLD to trust.
“For too long I’ve asked myself, ‘Was I too naïve? Was it my fault?’ No, I will not and should not carry the guilt that belongs to Larry Nassar, USAG 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 much more than this. 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 of 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 enabled him, to steal my love and joy.
“We need to know why this was able to take place for so long and to 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 though.
‘XO, Simone Biles”
Biles’ statement came on the eve of a hearing in Lansing, Mich., where at least 88 women are expected to give victim impact statements to a judge who will sentence Nassar.
USA Gymnastics said in a statement Monday night that it was “heartbroken, sorry and angry that Simone Biles or any of our athletes have been harmed by the horrific acts of Larry Nassar.
“USA Gymnastics’ support is unwavering for Simone and all athletes who courageously came forward to share their experiences,” the group added. “We are our athletes’ advocates. USA Gymnastics will continue to listen to our athletes and our members in our efforts of creating a culture of empowerment with a relentless focus on athlete safety every single day.”
Raisman, Biles’ 2016 Olympic teammate, tweeted, “I am so proud of you. You are incredible Simone. I stand with you. I am shaking reading your post. I know we will all get through this together.”
She said in a separate Twitter post: “An investigation must be done on (USA Gymnastics). I am sick over this. We must get to the bottom of how this disaster happened.”
Former Houston gymnast Dominique Moceanu, a 1996 Olympic gold medalist who was a longtime critic of USA Gymnastics’ leadership during the Karolyis’ regime, in a statement praised Biles for going public with her story.
“I stand by Simone and am so proud of her,” Moceanu said. “But my heart breaks for her – and all the young women – that were made to endure this horrific abuse.
“Right now I just want to offer Simone my love and support through this difficult time of healing. I adore her and her family, and I can only imagine how challenging this must be for them.”
The 53-year-old Nassar has been sentenced to 60 years in prison on child pornography charges and 25 to 40 years in prison for criminal sexual conduct, and is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to additional criminal sexual conduct charges.