16:55, January 22 274 0 usmagazine.com

2018-01-22 16:55:04

 

Olympian Nastia Liukin Breaks Silence on Larry Nassar’s Abuse

U.S. Gymnast Nastia Liukin broke her silence on Larry Nassar’s abuse of young gymnasts in a lengthy blog post on Sunday, January 21. More than 130 women have forward to accuse the former USA Gymnastics doctor of sexual misconduct, including gold medalists McKayla Maroney, Jordyn Wieber, Aly Raisman and Simone Biles. Many of them spoke at his sentencing in Lansing, Michigan, last week.

“I continue to be in awe of my teammates and other women and the bravery it took for them to come forward with their own stories of Larry Nassar’s abuse. All week long I have been a witness to their testimonies live on my computer. They all inspire me with their courage,” Liukin, 28, wrote on her website. “To compete on the biggest stage of our lives, while knowing the man on the floor with us was a monster, takes incredible fortitude and strength. His actions and assaults against my teammates, friends and other women are appalling and disgusting and I am so sorry they had to go through it alone.”

She also apologized to anyone who took her silence on the matter as a lack of support for her teammates. “When I first found out about Larry’s disgusting crimes, I was completely shocked. I couldn’t believe the man I trusted and had even publicly thanked for helping to heal my injuries was a monster to so many people I care so much about,” the 2008 Olympic medalist wrote. “One of the first times I was asked about this was on national television and I was completely caught off guard. I realized I gave the impression I was not fully supportive of my teammates. I stumbled through my words because I couldn’t even begin to process my thoughts, let alone my words, about his abhorrent and criminal actions.”

Larry Nassar
Larry Nassar Scott Olson/Getty Images

USA Gymnastics announced on January 19 that it would no longer hold its training camp at the Karolyi Ranch in Huntsville, Texas, since many gymnasts claimed that’s where the abuse took place. Following the news, Liukin’s father, the current head coach of the Women’s National Team, announced he would offer up local training centers for the teams to work in.

“Looking towards the future, my father is now the Women’s National Team Coach. He has been there as an athlete, a coach, and most importantly a father,” Liukin added in her blog. “He, as much as anyone else, wants to change the culture and environment of this program. The first step was offering one of his two gyms, WOGA in Texas, as a temporary place for the Women’s National Team while they search for a new Training Center. He continues to stay committed to providing a safe environment for these young women working so hard at a sport we all love so much.”

As previously reported, Nassar pleaded guilty to molesting 10 girls and possessing child pornography. He was sentenced to 60 years in prison for the pornography charges. on December 7. This week, more than 80 women addressed him in court and 40 more are still set to speak as he awaits sentencing on the sexual abuse charges.