As long as I can remember, gymnastics was my life. As a child my mother said: "I have to put this child on gymnastics to tire her out." You could say that I have been in gymnastics since the age of 18 months. I have always felt at ease in the gym, a kind of home away from home.
I was 7 years old for my first competition. I remember getting ready for the meeting. I braided my hair with a cool bow and some glitter. I had to wear this really great leo and wore a matching warm-up. Life was good, I looked good … and I was pretty sure that one day I would go to the Olympics!
The Olympic Games is something that brings hope and joy to people. It inspires people to fight for their dreams, because everything is possible with hard work and dedication. I remember watching the 2004 Olympic Games. I was 8 years old, and I told myself that one day I would wear that red, white and blue leotard and fight for my country. Of course, looking from the outside, it is a remarkable and amazing story. I did it. I came there, but not without a price.
I made the American national team when I was 14 and started competing all over the world for my country. When I first met Larry Nassar, he was the doctor of our national team and our Olympic team. I was told to trust him that he would treat my injuries and make it possible for me to realize my Olympic dreams. Dr. Nassar told me that "I received medically necessary treatment that he had been giving to patients for more than 30 years." Nassar turned out not to be a doctor until my death, he is in fact and forever a child abuser and a human monster. End of story! He abused my trust, he abused my body and left scars on my psyche that might never go away.
It all started when I was 13 or 14 years old, in one of my first training camps for the national team, in Texas, and it only ended when I left the sport. It seemed where and when this man could find the opportunity, I was treated & # 39; & # 39 ;. It happened in London before my team and I won the gold medal, and it happened before I won my silver medal. For me, the scariest night of my life happened when I was 15 years old. I had flown with the team all day and night to go to Tokyo. He had given me a sleeping pill for the flight, and before I know it, I was completely alone with him in his hotel room receiving a & # 39; treatment & # 39; received. I thought I'd die that night. Because the National Team training camps did not allow parents to be present, my father and mother could not observe what Nassar was doing, and this has imposed a terrible and unmerited debt on my loving family.
Larry Nassar deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison. Not only because of what he did to me, my teammates and so many other little girls – he must be behind bars so that he will never pet another child. I urge you to impose the maximum penalty on him.
Since I made my story public, I have been inspired and excited by the love and support of my former teammates, fans and many other good people. People need to know that sexual abuse of children does not only happen in Hollywood, in the media or in the halls of Congress. This happens everywhere. Where there is a dominant position, there seems to be potential for abuse.
I had a dream to go to the Olympics, and the things I had to undergo to get there were unnecessary and disgusting. I was deeply saddened by the stories of my fellow Olympic teammates who suffered like I did through Larry Nassar. More than 140 women and girls had to say "#MeToo" to Nassar's sexual assaults and hundreds of others fell victim to the pornographic images that fed his evil desires. A question that has been asked over and over is: how could Larry Nassar have been able to attack so many women and girls for more than two decades? The answer to that question lies in the failure of not one but three major institutions to stop him – Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics, and the United States Olympic Committee.
When my story became public, the US Olympic Committee said: "Every doctor who works with our athletes undergoes background checks, including an evaluation of medical licensing actions. Unfortunately, no organization was identified by any organization in the period in question." Reports in the Nation & # 39; s leading newspapers and media channels document credible claims that trainers and coaches from Michigan State University received complaints about Nassar from the late 1990s. These complaints were ignored. for more than 15 years at the Karolyi Ranch Olympic Training Center in Huntsville, Texas.
In 2014, Nassar was the subject of a Michigan State University investigation based on additional complaints about sexual misconduct. This failed investigation concluded that Nassar's actions, which he now admits were sexual attacks, were legitimate medical treatments. He was allowed to work again at Michigan State University and girls continue to bother. USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic Committee have never been informed of this investigation. When other Olympic and national team athletes complained to Larry Nassar at the US Gymnastics in 2015, he was allowed to retire because the physician of the Olympic team and Michigan State University were never aware of the complaints against him.
He returned to Michigan State University and reportedly continues to molest young girls until he was finally arrested almost a year later. A simple fact is this. If Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic Committee had paid attention to one of the red flags in Larry Nassar's behavior, I would never have met him, I would never have been treated by him & # 39; and I would never have been abused by him.
I hope that federal and national law enforcement agencies will not close the book on the Larry Nassar scandal after he has received his fair punishment. It is time to hold the leadership of Michigan State University, the US Gymnastics and the Olympic Committee of the United States responsible for allowing and in some cases making possible his crimes. Our silence has given power to the wrong people for too long and it is time to take back our power.
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