Simone Biles and other Olympians Expose the Delay in Action from Officials
By Annika Henthorn
After countless allegations, former U.S gymnastics and Michigan State doctor, Larry Nassar, was sentenced 40 to 175 years in prison for a number of sex crimes in 2018. His trial brought over 150 women to testify against him and the atrocious crimes he committed, according to The New York Times. Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who proceeded over this case, had attracted a lot of media attention, undoubtedly backing the women who had the courage to share their story in front of the world. Once she had revealed his sentence, Judge Aquilina had famously said “I just signed your death warrant.”
In 2017, he pleaded guilty to child pornography charges and sexual crimes against athletes at Michigan State University, furthering his sentence (AP News). Hundreds of victims alongside USA Gymnastics have filed a joint settlement proposal of $425 million to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Indianapolis last month (AP News).
Recently, Simone Biles has exposed the FBI and USA Gymnastic Official’s failure to properly address allegations that surfaced in 2015. According to AP News, FBI Director Christopher Wray expressed his remorse saying he was “deeply and profoundly sorry.” However, his apology cannot remedy the trauma and devastation of the women impacted by Nassar’s abuse. Although the disgusting behavior was attributed to Nassar, Biles blames both Nassar and “an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse,” AP News reveals. Biles has also addressed USA Gymnastics and Paralympics’ knowledge of the abuse and their little regard for the athletes’ well-being.
The delay from both USA Gymnastics the FBI in response to such serious allegations allowed Nassar to continue his sex crimes despite their awareness of the situation. McKayla Maroney, a member of the USA Olympic gymnastics team in 2012, has admitted that “for so long all of us questioned, just because someone else wasn’t fully validating us, that we doubted what happened to us”(AP News). Without the clear backing and support from both of these sources, many athletes assumed their trauma was illegitimate. Aly Raisman, another Olympic gymnast, was also disgusted by the lack of urgency conveyed in the investigation. Countless women could have been spared the trauma if the accusations were dealt with promptly; however, the delay allowed Nassar extended time to continue his abuse.
Raisman has called for an investigation into USA Gymnastics, Olympic Officials, and the FBI, according to AP News. After experiencing, first-hand, the disregard of these serious allegations, she believes there could still be people in a position of power that shouldn’t be. Larry Nassar held an esteemed position within the gymnastics community before the trial, and without the testimonies of the brave women, he still would have maintained that power. If someone like Nassar was able to mask his horrific actions, then Raisman suspects there are others that also need to be held accountable.
Madison Sciba '24,