Former elite gymnast Mattie Larson testified Tuesday in a Michigan courtroom that she was once desperate enough to avoid Larry Nassar’s abuse that she purposefully injured herself.
Larson began attending gymnastics camps at the Karolyi Ranch when she was 10 years old and Nassar first abused her there when she was 14, she said on the sixth day of Nassar’s sentencing hearing. From then on, she was molested by Nassar every time she sought treatment from him.
“I was taking a bath when I decided to push the bath mat aside, splash water on the tiles, get on the floor and bang the back of my head against the tub hard enough to get a bump so it seemed like I slipped,” Larson said. “My parents immediately took me to the hospital because they thought I had a concussion. I was willing to physically hurt myself to get out of the abuse that I received at the ranch.
“When I attended the next camp, Marta Karolyi approached me and said, ‘You know what, [1992 Olympic bronze medalist] Kim Zmeskal fell out of the top bunk in the cabins here and didn’t miss practice the next day.’ She did not say another word to me for the rest of the camp.
“It makes me so sad to think about how desperate I was at that time, feeling as though that were the only way I could ensure not having to go to camp.”
Larson, 25, was the national champion in the floor exercise in 2010 and won silver in the team competition at the world championships that year.
USA Gymnastics announced last week that it is cutting ties with Karolyi Ranch, the site of many of Nassar’s crimes.
Nassar’s sentencing hearing was originally expected to last four days but has now stretched to six as more women and girls have come forward to identify themselves and give victim impact statements.