NORMAN--A University of Oklahoma gymnast says she is victim of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.
Oklahoma University sophomore Maggie Nichols called “The best collegiate gymnast in the country” by ESPN, revealed today that she is a victim of former USA Gymnastics and MSU doctor Larry Nassar.
In a statement released today Ms. Nichols said, “Three of my friends and former National Team members who medaled at the 2012 Olympics recently stepped forward to proclaim they were sexually assaulted by former USA Gymnastics, US Olympic Team and Michigan State University Dr. Larry Nassar. Today I join them.”
She went on to charge the US Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics with failing to provide a safe environment for her and her teammates.
“USA Gymnastics and the USOC did not provide a safe environment for me and my teammates to train. We were subjected to Dr. Nassar at every National Team Camp which occurred monthly at the Karolyi Ranch. His job was to care for our health and treat our injuries. Instead, he violated our innocence,” she said.
Nichols had been at the top of the U.S. national team leading up to the Olympics, with a silver medal in the all-around at the 2015 U.S. nationals. She won a gold and bronze medal at the World Championships that same year, and another silver medal all-around finish at the 2016 American Cup in March of the Olympic year. Then a meniscus tear in her knee suffered during practice resulted in surgery, just three months before the Olympic trials. With limited training time, she earned a sixth-place finish in the all-around and fourth place on floor, but she was not selected to the team.
She entered the University of Oklahoma in 2017 and led her school to an NCAA National Championship, setting an Oklahoma record in the all-around competition.
“USA Gymnastics brazen attempt to coverup the largest child sex abuse scandal in sports resulted in the molestation of hundreds of little girls. Chairman Paul Parilla and his Board should resign. If they don’t, the United States Olympic Committee has a responsibility to decertify this organization and replace it with one that will put the health and safety of athletes above money and medals,” said Ms. Nichols attorney John Manly.
Mr. Manly represents 107 young women and girls in lawsuits against USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University.
In March of 2014, a Title IX investigation of Nassar was instituted at MSU, after a girl complained that Nassar cupped her buttocks, massaged her breasts and vaginal area, and nearly inserted his finger into her vagina. After months of investigation, while Nassar continued to treat patients, MSU stated that there was a “nuanced” difference between legitimate medical procedures and sexual assaults, and that Nassar could continue to treat young women and little girls. The doctors who participated in this investigation were all close friends and colleagues of Nassar at MSU. Nassar continued to abuse little girls and young women for the next two and a half years. MSU never notified USA Gymnastics or the United States Olympic Committee of this investigation
Larry Nassar was removed from USA Gymnastics and the US National as team doctor in 2015 following complaints from Maggie Nichols, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney.
USA Gymnastics did not report the reason for his dismissal to Michigan State University where he continued to practice medicine and allegedly molest young women and girls for more than a year before he was arrested.
Instead, Nassar was allowed to put out a public statement on social media stating that he had “retired” as USA Gymnastics and US National Team doctor.
In November 2017, Larry Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in prison on Federal child pornography charges. He also pleaded guilty to 10 counts of criminal sexual conduct in Michigan State Court and is due to be sentenced on those charges in January.
The impacts of the Nassar scandal have been far reaching. Recently, the top sponsors of USA Gymnastics, including Procter & Gamble, Kellogg’s, Hershey’s and Under Armour have withdrawn sponsorship support from the organization.