Raisman: USA Gymnastics is "rotting from the inside."

By Daniel Rapaport
January 19, 2018

Three-time Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman ripped USA Gymnastics in a speech she made at the sentencing for Larry Nassar, a former doctor for the organization who has been convicted of sexually abusing young girls under the guise of medical treatment. 

Raisman delivered a scathing critique of the way USA Gymnastics handled reports of Nassar's abuse, saying that the organization is "rotting from the inside." 

Raisman is one of a number of the 100+ victims of Nassar's abuse who have given speech's directly to Nassar's face as part of his sentencing hearing for multiple counts of sexual misconduct. Each victim was given an opportunity to speak, and her "Fierce Five" teammate from the gold medal-winning 2012 team, Jordyn Wieber, also spoke on Friday

"Larry, you do realize now that we, this group of women you so heartlessly abused over such a long period of time, are now a force and you are nothing," said Raisman, who has said that she was abused by Nassar.

She spoke for roughly 15 minutes and addressed the letter Nassar wrote to the judge Rosemarie Aquilina, in which he said she had turned his sentencing into a "media circus" and complained about the effect hearing his victim's stories were having on his psyche. 

"You're pathetic to think that anyone would have any sympathy for you," she said. "You think this is hard for you? Imagine how all of us feel."

A prevailing sentiment throughout Raisman's impassioned speech was that talk is cheap; she conveyed that she wants to see change within the sport of gymnastics, but that USA Gymnastics' past inaction and failure to protect athletes has left her skeptical. 

"If over these many years just one adult listened, and had the courage and character to act, this tragedy could have been avoided."

Raisman addressed Thursday's announcement from the new CEO of USA Gymnastics, Kerry Perry, which said the organization would not longer hold national team training camps at the Kaloryi Ranch site in Texas, where so many were abused by Nassar.

USA Gymnastics "neglected to mention they had athletes training there the day they released the statement," she said. 

The speech was followed by applause, and Aquilina complimented her for her courage to speak up so passionately. 

"You were never the problem," Aquilina said, "but you are so much the solution... You are part of an unstoppable growing force."

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