By: Hana Shamarka
She opened up on twitter using the hashtag #MeToo
Biles watched as her friends and former teammates came forward to detail the abuse of now imprisoned former USA gymnastics team doctor.
The four-time gold medalist drew upon her strength and said that she was among the athletes who were sexually abused by Larry Nassar, releasing a statement via twitter outlining the abuse.
Nassar, who spent more than two decades as a physician at USA Gymnastics while also working at Michigan State University, has admitted sexually assaulting gymnasts, possessing child pornography and molesting girls who sought medical treatment. He was sentenced in December to 60 years in federal prison for possessing child pornography and is facing another 40 to 125 years in prison after pleading guilty to assaulting seven girls.
Biles, now 20, called his behavior “completely unacceptable, disgusting, and abusive, especially from someone whom I was told to trust.” She joins a list of gymnasts who have come out against Nassar, including six-time Olympic medalist Aly Raisman, 2012 all-around champion Gabby Douglas and two-time Olympic medalist McKyla Maroney.
Like her teammates, biles detailed abuse by Nassar that he claimed as treatment.
“It is not normal to receive any type of treatment from a trusted team physician and refer to it horrifyingly as the ‘special’ treatment,” Biles wrote.
Biles is in the stages of a return to competition, a journey that includes visits to the national team’s training center at the Karolyi Ranch north of Houston, where she said the abuse occurred.
“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,” Biles wrote
Biles says she initially wondered if she was to blame.
“For too long I’ve asked myself, ‘Was I too naive? Was it my fault?’” Biles wrote. “I now know the answer to those questions. No. No. It was not my fault. No, I will not and should not carry the guilt that belongs to Larry Nassar, USAG, and others.”
USA Gymnastics said in a statement it is “heartbroken, sorry and angry” that Biles and other athletes were harmed by Nassar.
“USA Gymnastics’ support is relentless for Simone and all athletes who courageously came forward to share their experiences,” the organization said in a release. “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 comission with a relentless focus on athlete and to insure their safety every single day.”