Aly Raisman, one of the most recognizable faces of USA Gymnastics, has long spoken out about athlete safety.
As one of the gymnasts who testified against Larry Nassar at a public sentencing hearing in 2018, she has also been a major critic of the federation and their handling of the scandal. Nassar, the former team doctor for USA Gymnastics, was sentenced to de-facto life in prison on multiple charges of sexual assault and child pornography.
In an interview with the New Yorker, Raisman discussed everything from the possibility of her making a comeback to the corruption within USA Gymnastics. The Olympic gold medalist says it’s not just USA Gymnastics that requires reform.
“When I think about USA Gymnastics, I think it’s just, like, rotten from the inside out. It’s not a good organization,” Raisman said.
“The United States Olympic Committee is a disaster too. It’s not just a problem in USA Gymnastics. I know that figure skaters and other athletes have spoken out about abuse. A lot of these organizations are corrupt, and the U.S. Olympic Committee is in charge of all of that.”
She added that she has zero confidence in USA Gymnastics to protect the current team’s mental and physical health.
“It’s important for national governing bodies like USA Gymnastics to make sure they have programs in place for the athletes who do get injured, or who don’t peak at the right time, so that they know they’re more than just gymnasts, and that if they don’t accomplish their Olympic dreams now, they still have their whole lives ahead of them,” she said, talking about the impact the pandemic can have on an athlete’s mental health.
“That’s not something that’s in place right now,” Raisman added. “Even the gymnasts who felt like they benefited from the extra year and still didn’t make the team—it’s gut-wrenching to talk to them, and to hear just how broken they feel.”
Raisman says that until their questions are answered and there is change, the gymnasts involved aren’t just going to go away quietly.
“I think that there has been a cover-up,” she said. “I think that we all deserve answers.
“USA Gymnastics thinks that everything will get swept under the rug because the Olympics is going on, and people will just forget about it,” she continued. “Our story is so public, and the platforms that some of us have are big… I have more faith in the younger generation, so I’m hoping that when they grow up they can get into these positions of power. I think that’s when we’ll start to see change.”