Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney has added her voice to the thousands of women coming forward with stories of sexual assault under the #MeToo hashtag. On Twitter, Maroney wrote of how she was repeatedly assaulted by her former USA Gymnastics team doctor.
Maroney pointed to Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics doctor and a convicted sex offender, as the man who repeatedly assaulted her. The abuse started when Maroney was just 13 years old, she said, and Nassar told her she was receiving “medically necessary treatment that he had been performing on patients for over 30 years.”
“It seemed whenever and wherever this man could find the chance, I was ‘treated,’” Maroney wrote. “It happened in London before my team and I won the gold medal, and it happened before I won my Silver.”
Maroney adds a powerful voice to the movement of women seeking to bring awareness to pervasive sexual assault, stories that have all too often been kept hidden because of shame or fear of reprisal. “People should know that this is not just happening in Hollywood,” she wrote. “This is happening everywhere. Wherever there is a position of power, there seems to be potential for abuse. I had a dream to go to the Olympics, and the things that I had to endure to get there were unnecessary and disgusting.”
Nassar has been accused of assaulting at least 140 girls and women. He is currently facing sexual assault charges in Michigan, and is awaiting sentencing on federal chargers, per USA Today. Maroney’s former teammate, Aly Raisman, had harsh words of criticism for USA Gymnastics earlier this summer for its failure to address Nassar during his 29-year tenure there.
”What people don’t realize is that this doctor was a doctor for 29 years,” Raisman said. “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.”’
Maroney was one of the “Fierce Five” that won gold at the 2012 London Olympics; she also won silver in the individual vault event. In her letter, Maroney spoke of how the Olympics had been her dream since she was a child, watching the 2004 Games as an 8-year-old.
“From the outside looking in, it’s an amazing story,” Maroney wrote. “I did it. I got there, but not without a price.”