Olympic medalist Aly Raisman: I was abused by USA Gymnastics doctor
A second member of the Fierce Five squad that won gold at the London Olympics has said she, too, was sexually abused by USA Gymnastics’ longtime team physician.
Aly Raisman confirmed the abuse in an interview with 60 Minutes, which is to air Sunday night. The three-time gold medalist and captain of the 2012 and 2016 Olympic teams also describes it in her book, Fierce, being released next week.
“I am angry. I'm really upset,” Raisman told 60 Minutes. “I see these young girls that come up to me, and they ask for pictures or autographs, whatever it is … I just want to create change so that they never, ever have to go through this.”
Raisman’s revelation comes a month after fellow Fierce Fiver McKayla Maroney came forward to say she was abused by Larry Nassar for several years, beginning when she was 13. A third Olympian, Sydney bronze medalist Jamie Dantzscher, has also said she was abused by Nassar.
According to the Lansing State Journal, which is part of the USA TODAY Network, more than 140 women have alleged sexual abuse by Nassar, under the guise of medical treatment.
Nassar was the USA Gymnastics’ team physician for nearly 20 years, beginning in 1996. He was fired by USA Gymnastics in the summer of 2015, but the federation waited five weeks before alerting the FBI. Raisman told 60 Minutes that she met with the FBI after the Rio Olympics, where she won a second team gold as well as silver medals in the all-around and floor exercise.
Raisman has been openly critical of the way USA Gymnastics has handled complaints against Nassar as well as other allegations of sexual abuse. The Indianapolis Star, also part of the USA TODAY Network, has reported more than 360 cases in which gymnasts have accused coaches of sexual transgressions over 20 years.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re the Olympic champion or you’re an 8-year-old that goes to gymnastics in Ohio, or wherever you are in the United States,” Raisman said in a joint interview with USA TODAY Sports and The Associated Press in August, when she and her Final Five teammates from Rio were inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame.
“Every single kid is important, and I want USA Gymnastics to do a better job with that.”
Raisman declined to detail her interactions with Nassar during the August interview, saying she wanted to keep the focus on the scandal and its overall impact.
“It's important to speak up for something and it's right. It's the right thing,” she said. “More people need to talk about it and I just feel that it's not getting enough attention in the sport. That's what bothers me. I want these young girls to know. It should have never ever happened and I think that needs to be discussed more.”
Last month, Maroney came forward in a Twitter post, saying Nassar abused her under the guise of medical treatment. Nassar abused her until she left the sport, Maroney wrote, adding, "It seemed whenever and wherever this man could find the chance, I was 'treated.'"
Maroney said Nassar abused her before the U.S. team won gold in the 2012 Olympics and before she won silver on vault.
At the 2011 world championships, Maroney said Nassar gave her a sleeping pill "and the next thing I know I was all alone with him in his hotel room getting a 'treatment.' I thought I was going to die that night." She was 15 at the time.
Maroney shared her account in October with the #MeToo hashtag.
"People should know that this is not just happening in Hollywood," Maroney wrote. "This is happening everywhere. Wherever there is a position of power, there seems to be potential for abuse. I had a dream to go to the Olympics, and the things that I had to endure to get there were unnecessary and disgusting."'
Nassar pleaded guilty to federal child pornography charges in July, and he faces 22 to 27 years in prison when he’s sentenced on Dec. 7. He also faces 33 charges of criminal sexual conduct in Michigan.
The sex abuse scandal led to the ouster of USA Gymnastics CEO Steve Penny, who resigned in March under pressure from the U.S. Olympic Committee. USA Gymnastics announced this week that Kerry Perry, formerly the vice president of business development at Learfield Communications, would start as CEO on Dec. 1.
USA Gymnastics hired former federal prosecutor Deborah Daniels to review its practices, and her report found USA Gymnastics needed a “complete cultural change” so safety and well-being of athletes was a greater priority than world and Olympic medals.
USA Gymnastics has adopted all 70 recommendations made by Daniels and is in the process of implementing them. Some have already been addressed with the opening of the U.S. Center for Safe Sport, an independent agency created by the USOC to handle sexual misconduct cases in the Olympic movement.
USA Gymnastics did not respond to an email from USA TODAY Sports late Thursday night seeking comment. But in a statement to 60 Minutes, the federation said it was “very sorry that any athlete has been harmed.”
“We want to work with Aly and all interested athletes to keep athletes safe.”