Robert Scheer/The Indianapolis Star via AP

Denhollander was the first woman to publicly accuse Larry Nassar of sexual abuse.

By Kaelen Jones
December 06, 2018

Lawyer and former gymnast Rachael Denhollander has been selected as Sports Illustrated's Inspiration of the Year.

Denhollander was the first woman to publicly accuse former Michigan State and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar of sexual assault.

Denhollander filed a federal lawsuit against Nassar at the U.S. District Court for the Western District fo Michigan. Two-hundered and fifty-one other former gymnasts, along with 23 husbands of gymnasts, also brought up claims consolidated into her suit.

Following Denhollander's lead, more than 300 women in total have said they were sexually assaulted by Nassar.

Denhollander was the last to confront Nassar during his hearing for criminal sexual misconduct and delivered a powerful rebuke of the serial predator.

Nassar was sentenced up to 175 years on Michigan state charges of sexual assault, in addition to a sentence of 40 to 125 years in prison on three counts of sexual assault. He also was given a 60-year sentence on federal child-pornography charges.

In a recent telephone interview, Denhollander said that, “unless the new organization is populated with people who are willing to stand up and say: This is wrong, we are not going to do it this way, this is not the right priority, this is not the right value systems, we’re just going to end up with another organization that repeats the same problem.”

SI's Sportsperson of the Year award ceremony will take place on Dec. 11 at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles. It will be telecast on NBCSN on Dec. 13 at 9 p.m. ET. Comedian and actor Joel McHale will host this year’s event.

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