Aly Raisman is one of the highest-profile American gymnasts of the last decade, having captained two consecutive Olympic gold medal-winning squads in 2012 and 2016. And now, she’s become the highest-profile American gymnast to speak out harshly against USA Gymnastics for their role in the sexual abuse scandal that is still being investigated.
The 23-year-old is calling for sweeping change in the organization in the wake of dozens of allegations of sexual abuse by former national team doctor Larry Nassar, a scandal that has left one of the U.S. Olympic movement’s marquee programs scrambling and Raisman shaken.
“I feel like there’s a lot of articles about it, but nobody has said, ‘This is horrible, this is what we’re doing to change,'” Raisman said in a wide-ranging interview Saturday shortly after she and other members of the “Final Five” that won team gold at the 2016 Olympics were inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame.
“What people don’t realize is that this doctor was a doctor for 29 years,” Raisman. “Whether or not he did it to a gymnast, they still knew him. Even if he didn’t do it to you, it’s still the trauma and the anxiety of wondering what could have happened. I think that needs to be addressed. These girls, they should be comfortable going to USA Gymnastics and saying: ‘I need help, I want therapy. I need this.'”
The full interview with AP/USA Today is worth reading as well; Raisman comes across as passionate, appalled, and willing to speak her mind on a topic that, frankly, has been mishandled at every turn by USA Gymnastics, especially considering their alleged role in helping to cover up (actively or passively) Nassar’s actions, which allegedly spanned decades.
It’s nice to see an athlete with this kind of platform use it to try and benefit others, especially others who have already been severely wronged and let down by an organization that purports to do nothing but good for young men and women.