Olympic champion ‘wouldn’t let daughter become gymnast’ after abuse scandal

Olympic champion gymnast Simone Biles has said she would stop her daughter joining the USA Gymnastics set-up following the organisation’s handling of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.

Nassar, a former doctor for USA Gymnastics, was convicted and sentenced to upwards of 300 years behind bars in 2018 after being accused of abuse by more than 250 athletes – including Biles.

Biles, now 23, has said that if she had a daughter, she would not allow her to train with USA Gymnastics.

When asked on CBS’s 60 Minutes, she said: “No. Because I don’t feel comfortable enough, because they haven’t taken accountability for their actions and what they’ve done.

“And they haven’t ensured us that it’s never going to happen again.”

Larry Nassar sits in the courtroom as his third sentencing begins
Image:Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor, pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges

Biles, who has dominated artistic gymnastics since making her debut as a teenager in 2013, said she feels personally let down by USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic Committee.

“We bring them medals,” the four-time Olympic gold medallist said.

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“We do our part. You can’t do your part in return? It’s just, like, it’s sickening.”

Asked what questions remain unanswered, she replied: “Just who knew what, when?

“You guys have failed so many athletes. And most of us underage. You guys don’t think that’s a bigger problem?

“Like, if that were me and I knew something, I’d want it resolved immediately.”

Simone Biles says she wouldn't let her daughter join the USA Gymnastics set-up
Image:Simone Biles says she wouldn’t let her daughter join the USA Gymnastics set-up

In January 2020, USA Gymnastics announced a plan to pay a $215m (£164m) settlement to the group of athletes abused by Nassar.

USA Gymnastics president and chief executive Li Li Leung told CBS they “recognise how deeply we have broken the trust of our athletes and community, and are working hard to build that trust back”.

US Olympic and Paralympic boss Sarah Hirshland said she wanted to “repeat” the organisation’s apology “to all those who have been harmed”.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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