Olympic and USA Gymnastics champion Simone Biles: "You didn't protect us"

2018 FIG Artistic Gymnastics Championships - Day Ten

Four-time Olympic Champion, Simone Biles, has spoken out against USA Gymnastics following the revelation negligence enabled predator, Larry Nassar, to sexually abuse gymnasts.

Nassar was convicted in 2018 to over 300 years in prison after more than 150 women and girls testified they had been sexually abused by the sports doctor under the guise of receiving medical treatment.

This week the US Senate released the result of their 18-month investigation into how Nassar was able to abuse around 300 young girls over two decades. US Congress and the FBI partnered to reveal the USOC and USA Gymnastics made serious missteps even after receiving concerns from victims that Nassar was abusing his position of power. The report found the US Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics “knowingly concealed abuse by Larry Nassar, leading to the abuse of dozens of additional amateur athletes from summer 2015 to September 2016.” 

Simone Biles, 22, the most decorated gymnast in World Championship history, responded to the report at the US Gymnastics National Championships ahead of competing for her sixth National title.

"It’s hard coming here for an organisation, having had them fail us so many times, we had one goal, we have done everything that they asked us for, even when we didn’t want to and they couldn’t do one damn job," she said.

Biles made a statement on Instagram in 2018 revealing that she too had been a victim of repeated abuse by Nassar, a person she believed she had been told she could trust as a member of the USA Gymnastics senior team.

"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 behaviour is completely unacceptable... especially coming from someone whom I was TOLD to trust"

Biles is one of USA Gymnastics' brightest stars and has been an outspoken defender of her fellow victims of sexual abuse. Heading into her final Olympics at Tokyo 2020 she is using her voice to guarantee the paths for gymnasts behind her are less traumatic. 

GYMNASTICS-QAT-WC-2018

The Larry Nassar case revealed systemic negligence towards sexual abuse in the very structure of USA Gymnastics. The nature of the sport means a huge number of very young girls and boys compete at elite levels from young ages. The protection and safeguarding of these young athletes should have been the singular priority for the organisations propelling them into the spotlight. This report demonstrates that for the USOC and USA Gymnastics this was not the case.

It begs the question, what more needs to be done to protect gymnasts? Biles continues to speak up for victims and as the biggest name in gymnastics worldwide she is using her voice to hold these organisations to account. USA Gymnastics has seen a complete overhaul in their management team since 2016 but will need to ensure they continue to create a safe environment for their athletes. The rebuild process will be long and it will take both an immense effort and time to earn back trust from US gymnasts. Simone Biles is certainly not rushing back with open arms, and why should she?

News Now - Sport News