Olympic Gymnast Aly Raisman Shines Light On Horrific Problem Within Athletics

    Gymnastics events

    Aly Raisman was on top of the world during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She was part of the Final Five that won the Women’s Team All-Around gold medal, the third team Olympic gold medal for the United States. Raisman, alongside Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Madison Kocian, and Laurie Hernandez have been balancing celebrating and training over the last year and a half, but Raisman has been battling something much worse.


    In an interview with “60 Minutes,” in addition to a book, “Fierce,” which will be released later in November, Raisman announced that she too had been sexually abused by the same team doctor who is facing other criminal charges for molesting countless young gymnasts.


    “I am angry,” she said. “I’m really upset because I care a lot, when I see these young girls that come up to me, and they ask for pictures or autographs, whatever it is, every time I look at them, every time I see them smiling, I just think I just want to create change so that they never, ever have to go through this.”


    According to The New York Times, Raisman, who was captain of the U.S. Gymnastics teams at the 2012 London and 2016 Rio Olympics, will continue her gymnasts career and go for the 2020 Games, despite being the eldest member of both Olympic squads.


    Another member of the 2012 Olympic team, McKayla Maroney, announced earlier this year that team doctor, Lawrence G. Nassar, began molesting her at age 13.


    Dr. Nassar is currently in jail in Michigan and faces 22 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving at least seven victims.


    “This guy is a monster,” said Bill Schuette, Michigan attorney general.


    No one should ever have to go through with what any of these victims have went through. These girls have worked extremely hard over multiple decades to get to where they are today, and should never have to worry about someone, anyone, taking advantage of them or abusing them in any way.


    Hopefully, the only positive that can come from Raisman’s story and all the other stories coming out is that the entire gymnastics community can take a look at the culture and do whatever it can to make sure that this never happens again.


    Gymnastics as a sport has been around for over 2,000 years and kids all over the country enjoy participating in gymnastics events, taking gymnastics classes, and simply rooting for the U.S. National Team at the Olympics. When such monstrous stories like this come out, the entire world of athletics takes a hit and makes it harder for parents to justify their children discovering this rewarding and enriching sport.


    Any parent has the right to keep their child from competing in gymnastics events or participating in any sport, but hopefully parents will put their trust into coaches and medical personnel once again. The entire gymnastics and athletic sector needs to take a look at every single member of the community and rid itself of any toxic members.


    These stories, though horrifying, will help improve the gymnastics community in the future and hopefully little boys and girls will be able to pursue their athletic dreams without any fear in their hearts.


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