Reporters from the Indianapolis Star broke the horrific story about USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar and the years of abuse to the young girls he was supposed to be helping.
Maggie Nichols was one of the first gymnasts to report which means she was known as Athlete A and helping to eventually brought down the monster Nassar who had been abusing for over 20 years which resulted in hundreds of young girls lives being ruined. This happened in January 2018 when her coach overheard a conversation about Nassar to a fellow gymnast and realised things weren’t quite right and she reported this issue.
The frustrating thing to come from that is that surely before 2018 someone had heard something or been told something about this monster? That seems to be one of those things that pops up within this horrendous cases where people could do something and things are covered up. Never ever makes sense that does it? Especially with Nassar being a Doctor really does make you feel physically sick to think that he managed to abuse his victims even with their mother in the room positioning himself to still be able to do it.
Absolutely terrifying to listen to some of the accounts especially happening when some of the girls were so young and did not really understand fully what was happening to them. We gave heard quite a lot about the training methods within gymnastics over the years and the abuse many athletes have suffered from. Not just sexual with the emotional and physical side due to the intensity of the training programmes.
Adding in sexual abuse really does then make you so angry that young girls and teenagers who just want nothing more than to excel in the sport. Parents taking them to the training and never ever even contemplating anything that sick happening to them.
The method the documentary is presented in works in the best possible way managing to convey the powerful messages from some of the victims. Girls who had been training their whole life to hopefully one day win gold medals and represent the USA at Olympic Games. Having many gymnasts from different years and who were almost part of the Olympics and those who were, recalling some truly traumatic times could not have been easy to do on camera.
Athlete A is a harrowing documentary but it is also important to highlight this type of predatory behaviour to ensure it does not happen in the future. Or at the very least people will have a little bit of an idea what to look for. We have seen a lot of cases across many sports and countries over the past few years and we can only hope that enhanced safeguarding methods will really protect many young girls and boys who just want to love taking part in sport. I just hope that everyone who was involved in the trial and case have been given the necessary support.