Simone Biles spoke openly with a group of reporters after a morning training session at Sprint Center, where the U.S. gymnastics championships will be held this week. During the interview, Biles became emotional, explaining how it felt being back on the mat for an organization that didn’t protect her or her teammates from doctor Larry Nassar’s abuse.
“It’s just hard coming here for an organization and having had them fail us so many times,” she said. Reports indicated that USA Gymnastics officials were aware of sexual abuse accusations against Nassar and took no preventive action.
“We had one job [winning Olympic gold],” Biles said. “And we have done everything that they asked us for — even when we didn’t want to. And they couldn’t do one damn job! You had one job; you literally had one job, and you couldn’t protect us!”
Biles was asked about the recently completed, 18-month congressional investigation that concluded the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics “knowingly concealed” Nassar’s abuse. She said she felt it was important that she and other gymnasts continue to publicly use their voice on the matter.
“We’re blessed to be given a [social media] platform so that people will hear,” Biles said. “But it’s not easy coming back to the sport, coming back to the organization that has failed you… I feel like every day is a reminder of what I went through and what I’ve been through and what I’m going through and how I’ve come out of it.”
The Olympic gold medalist admitted that since she’s been back training, there have been days where she couldn’t emotionally bear to complete a full day and would simply walk out mid-session. Other days she couldn’t bring herself to train at all.
“It’s just really sad because every time I go to the doctor or training, I get worked on [by physical therapists]; it’s like I don’t want to get worked on,” Biles said. “But my body hurts. I’m 22. At the end of the day, I have to put in the therapy. It’s just hard. I’ll work through it. It’ll take some time. I’m strong. I’ll get through it. But it’s hard.”
Former team physician, Larry Nassar is serving an effective life sentence of 175 years for child pornography and sexually abusing almost 160 girls and young women. USAG is now on its third CEO since 2017.
“How can we trust them? The people I had known for years had failed us,” the gymnast continued. “Everyone they bring in, you kind of put a wall up. At this point, all we can do is have faith that they’ll have our back and do the right thing. But at the end of the day, it’s just a ticking time bomb. We’ll see.”
In response to Biles’ remarks, USAG’s president and CEO Li Li Leung said the organization has made progress in strengthening measures to keep athletes safe but realized “we have more to do.”
Leung said in a statement, “One of our goals is for our athletes to feel comfortable in speaking up and sharing their opinions, and we are listening to what they have to say. We will continue to work hard to demonstrate to Simone and all of our athletes, members, community, and fans that we are working to foster a safe, positive and encouraging environment where athlete voices are heard.”