To this day I still don't know how he could have been allowed to do this for so long. My teammates and I were subjected to his medical care every single month at the national team training centers in Texas. He was the only male allowed to be present in the athletes' dorm rooms to do whatever treatments he wanted. He was allowed to treat us in hotel rooms alone without any supervision.
date of testimony: January 18th 2018
location of testimony: Lansing, Michigan
age at first abuse: 14
First of all, I would want to thank you for allowing us to speak here.
I thought that training for the Olympics would be the hardest thing that I would ever have to do, but, in fact, the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do is process that I’m a victim of Larry Nassar. It has caused me to feel shame and confusion, and I have spent months trying to think back on my experience and wonder how I didn’t even know this was happening to me and how I became so brainwashed by Larry and everyone at USA Gymnastics, both whom I thought were supposed to be on my side.
I started seeing Larry Nassar at the age of eight right here in my hometown of Lansing. He was known as the best gymnastics doctor in the world.
Everyone at my club, on the US National team, and across the country saw Larry, and everyone said the same thing, he was a miracle worker and he could fix just about anything.
I was treated by Larry for any and all of my injuries from ages eight until I was 18, and it wasn’t long before he had gained my trust. He became a safe person of sorts, and to my teenage self he appeared to be the good guy in an environment that was intense and restricting.
He would try to advise me how to deal with the stresses of training or my coaches. He would bring us food and coffee at the Olympics when we were too afraid to eat too much in front of our coaches.
I didn’t know that these were all grooming techniques that he used to manipulate me and brainwash me into trusting him.
And when I was 14 years old I tore my hamstring in my right leg. This was when he started performing the procedure that we are all now familiar with. I would cringe at how uncomfortable it felt.
He did it time after time, appointment after appointment, convincing me that it was helping my hamstring injury, and the worst part was, I had no idea that he was sexually abusing me for his own benefit.
I knew it felt strange, but he was the national team doctor. Who was I to question his treatments or, even more, risk my chance at making the Olympic team or being chosen to compete nationally, and, after all, he was recommended by the national team staff and he treated us monthly at all of our national team camps.
I even talked to my teammates, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney, about this treatment and how uncomfortable it made us feel. None of us really understood it.
After making the Olympic team I suffered a stress fracture in my right shin. It was extremely painful to tumble and land using my leg, but I fought through the pain because it was the Olympics and I knew it would probably be my only shot.
Our bodies were all hanging by a thread when we were in London. Who was the doctor that USAG sent to keep us healthy and help us get through? The doctor that was our abuser. The doctor that is a child molester.
Because of my shin I couldn’t train without being in extreme pain and it affected the number of routines I could do to prepare before the competition and, ultimately, it made me feel less prepared than I should have been. I didn’t qualify in the all around competition and I went through a dark time right before we won the team gold. Now I question everything about that injury and the medical treatment I received. Was Larry even doing anything to help my pain? Was I getting the proper medical care? Or was he only focused on which one of us he was going to prey on next? What was he thinking about when he massaged my sore muscles every day? Now I question everything.
To this day I still don’t know how he could have been allowed to do this for so long. My teammates and I were subjected to his medical care every single month at the national team training centers in Texas. He was the only male allowed to be present in the athletes’ dorm rooms to do whatever treatments he wanted. He was allowed to treat us in hotel rooms alone without any supervision. He took photos of us during training and whenever else he wanted. Nobody was protecting us from being taken advantage of. Nobody was even concerned whether or not we were being sexually abused. I was not protected and neither were my teammates.
My parents trusted USA Gymnastics and Larry Nassar to take care of me and we were betrayed by both. And now the lack of accountability from USAG, USOC, and Michigan State have caused me and many other girls to remain shameful, confused, and disappointed.
I am angry with myself for not recognizing the abuse, and that’s something I’m struggling with today. But even though I’m a victim, I do not and will not live my life as one. I am an Olympian.
Despite being abused, I worked so hard and managed to achieve my goal, but I want everyone, especially the media, to know that despite my athletic achievements, I am one of over 140 women and survivors whose story is important. Our pain is all the same and our stories are all important.
And now the people who are responsible need to accept responsibility for the pain they have caused me and the rest of the women who have been abused. Larry Nassar is accountable. USA Gymnastics is accountable. The USA Olympic Committee is accountable. My teammates and friends have been through enough, and now it’s time for change, because the current and future gymnasts do not deserve to live in anxiety, fear, or be unprotected like I was. Thank you.
THE COURT: Thank you so much for your words. You have an Olympian voice. People will listen to you. I’ve listened to you. You are really very strong, not just as an athlete but as a woman, as a survivor.
I know you’ll get past this because of that strength, because you have the strength to come here and talk. It’s really important because what you’re doing is helping to set a new precedence that all victim survivors should speak out and that all victims have a right to speak out, and your young self did not know that, but you have already with what you’ve done in our community and so many others and in the world, molded so many young minds and people. What you’ve just done now is equally important, maybe more important, because they will listen to you. They will speak out like you. They want to be you.
You have nothing to be ashamed about. I’m so honored that you came to tell your story here today. Thank you.
MS. WIEBER: Thank you.