How did this happen?

‘Dropped the ball’ is the understatement of the century. 

I couldn’t bring myself to watch Nassar’s sentencing hearing this week (until the actual sentencing). I watched the first 4 days cringing and holding back tears while young ladies face the monster who sexually abused them. In the midst of those statements were unimaginable stories of the aftermath abuse leaves behind. Like a hurricane that leaves buildings flooded and debris in streets for people to clean up; USAG, the USOC, Twistars, and MSU left behind a shit storm for these women and their families to clean up for the rest of their lives. Those women are heroes.

I feel sad for the sport that shaped me into who I am.

To the sport that I identify with. The sport that taught me discipline, perseverance, dedication, and love failed so many people. I can tell that every former and current gymnast feels shame and heartbreak for what has happened to USAG. I am embarrassed to have a USAG identification card. Those women are heroes.

I feel sad for the victims, the families, his family, and all the great coaches and doctors who will have to fight a battle that these organizations created for them. I have paid particular attention to all of this because I want to be educated. I don’t want to have any doubt. I want to know the culture of gymnastics will change for the better. I want to do what I can to help. Those women are heroes.

We [gymnasts] are not supposed to be emotional. We are the balance of precision and grace. However, we are judged. We are belittled. We do as we are told or we find the exit. We are not groomed to be outspoken heroes, but rather to be silent followers. I am not happy or proud to be associated with a sport that is now known for abusing little girls. Why would anyone want to put their child in a sport that the highest level of that sport housed and nurtured a pedophile FOR 20 YEARS? Those women are heroes.

Do not get me wrong, gymnastics is amazing when surrounded by the right kind of people. Good coaches do not need to scream and yell. Good coaches know how to communicate with every athlete. Good coaches are trustworthy and make their athletes feel comfortable. I grew up in a great atmosphere in the gym. Yes, it is a brutal sport and tough love is the name of the game, but I didn’t doubt for ONE SINGLE SECOND that I was not cared about as a human being. USAG, USOC and MSU made these women and their families second to medals and winning and they must pay the price for that. Those women are heroes.

I know all too well what those girls were thinking, and how they feel when people do not understand how they didn’t know what was happening. All they know is gymnastics. That is it. That is all they know. They were perfect for Nassar and pedophiles everywhere to prey on, and when grown ups had the opportunity to do what was right, they failed. They failed over and over and over again. They failed all of those women, and they failed the young girls in the sport now. Those women are heroes.

My heart breaks for gymnasts. I will never look at the sport in the same light. USAG, the USOC, and MSU sacrificed LITTLE GIRLS to save face, and that is unforgivable. Those women demand change, and they will not stop until everyone involved is buried. These women are true, real life heroes, and I applaud them over and over again.

Always do the right thing even if it is not the popular thing because those women are heroes.


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