Around the Gymternet: Burn it down.


“The survivors are here, standing tall, and we are not going anywhere.”Aly Raisman

The sentencing

The army: More than 80 women, with the total number expected to surpass 140, have spoken at former national team doctor Larry Nassar’s sentencing, which began last Tuesday and will continue into this week. Hear some of their brave and emotional statements, and watch a live feed of today’s portion of the sentencing. Rachael Denhollander, the first survivor to come forward, is expected to speak last.

#UsToo: Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles and Jordyn Wieber have both come forward as survivors of Nassar’s abuse, Biles in a social media statement last Monday and Wieber at the sentencing.

Biles, Raisman, and Wieber, along with other survivors, have commented on the failure to protect athletes by USA Gymnastics, Michigan State University, Twistars, and the US Olympic Committee.

Justice for McKayla: After news broke that McKayla Maroney could be subject to a $100,000 fine if she chose to speak at Nassar’s sentencing—a violation of her non-disclosure agreement with USAG—model and Twitter hero Chrissy Teigen offered to pay the fine on her behalf. Maroney said Teigen’s kindness made it “worth the decision to speak up.”

In response, USAG said in a statement that it would not seek money from Maroney, saying that she has “always had the right to speak,” but attorney John Manly said “Not true” and blasted USAG for only relenting under public pressure.

Facing him: Survivors are speaking directly to Nassar, who sits in the witness stand next to the judge. Nassar said in a letter that the experience is bad for him “mentally,” but Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who has shown compassion for the survivors throughout the sentencing, isn’t having it.

The deal with MSU

What they knew: The Detroit News found that at least 14 MSU officials were warned of Nassar’s conduct over the course of two decades, including MSU president Lou Anna Simon, who was informed of a police report when Nassar was under investigation in 2014.

Presidential pardon: Pressure is mounting (see: the rock) for Simon to resign, but all but one member of the university’s Board of Trustees continue to support her. At the same time, the board has requested an investigation from the Attorney General into whether complaints were ignored or covered up.

Moron or liar? MSU basketball coach Tom Izzo expressed his support for Simon, also saying that he hopes “the right person was convicted.” The mother we all needed Lynn Raisman wondered on Twitter if he’s “a moron or just a liar.” Izzo later clarified, saying he “used the wrong words.”

There’s more

Goodbye, Ranch: After mounting pressure to stop sending athletes to the Karolyi Ranch—where many survivors experienced their abuse—USAG ended their contract with the Ranch and canceled this week’s national team camp.

Nastia speaks: In a letter of apology “to anyone who had the perception I was not in complete support” of survivors, Nastia Liukin pledged to donate all proceeds from this year’s Nastia Liukin Cup to a non-profit organization supporting sexual abuse survivors.

She also says that father Valeri Liukin has offered up WOGA as a temporary venue for the national team’s training camps, and later donated $20,000 to the Joyful Heart Foundation.

Account terminated: Nassar’s YouTube channel, which showed young women performing exercises as well as Nassar in physical contact with them, was finally removed.

Required reading:

NCAA corner

This one time in college: Here are recaps of the weekend’s meets.

Teal ribbon week: Teams across the country are wearing teal ribbons to support survivors of sexual abuse. UCLA (with special love for coach Jo), Stanford, Bridgeport, Whitewater, NIU, La Crosse, Washington, Bowling Green, Ursinus, and Lindenwood were all spotted sporting teal.

Nope: My wrist hurts just from watching Stella Savvidou’s one-handed roundoff, though it may be carpal tunnel from writing this recap.

Thanks, Obama: Men’s national champ Oklahoma was forced to cancel their opening meet at Air Force due to #TrumpShutdown.

Staying social

Meet Preston: He’s the therapy dog that’s comforting survivors at the sentencing. He has a blue necktie, very pupfressional. 18/10 would boop and then cry on.

Legends: Olympians Kathy Johnson Clarke, Dominique Dawes, Carly Patterson, and Dominique Moceanu have expressed their support for survivors on social media.

Making us proud: U.S. national team member Margzetta Frazier loves gymnastics, no matter what.

Viva la revolución: When Aly Raisman’s words have you shook, you write them on cardboard and walk at the #WomensMarch2018.

What you can do

Call your legislator, support women in journalism (and in general…), and support local news outlets (don’t forget that this is all happening because of the Indianapolis Star). Any other ideas? Is there an organization you support? Let us know in the comments.

Last words

Yours truly was in Mexico last week, but the news still came through and it was still painful to see. Something keeps bringing me back to this poem. It’s okay to not feel okay right now. Their pain is ours too—and so is their strength. 

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26 thoughts on “Around the Gymternet: Burn it down.

  1. Words cannot express how much I loathe the way sexual predators always mope and whine about hard their life is when they face their consequences. What’s next? He’s going to complain about not getting to eat steaks in prison?

    I hope Nassar’s prison cot is composed entirely of Legos.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I watched many victim impact statement and read almost all statement in this case. I was surprised by so many adults were fool by him, like kyle’s father who chooses to believe Nassar not her own daughter. Some long time friends.. some parents in the same physical pherapy room… and most of all, all those athelets who never thought this was sexual abuse until news and lawsuits came out…I can’t imagine how painful for those little girls when someone penetrate their virgina and massaged for like 30mins. God bless those girls. I think Gymnastics is better to stay as a hobby for most girls not as a way to win a ticket to Olympics or even NCAA. Even without sexual abuse, many athelets have mentioned harsh environment in ranch and at elite level. Not worth it.


  3. Sorry but I also have to say I dislike the environment in the elite gymnastics. Like when they got interviewed they were so fake, “ we definitely are families” , specifically Shawn Johnson and Liukin. You were not family and we can tell! Liukin’s statement about donating money and his father’s gym, the whole statement I to me is to look good for herself and her dad but not really anything else. Miss Val’s article about Rebecca Bross and other athelets and coaches how they treat Mattie was stunning! I know everybody is laughing at Chinese and Russian’s gymnastics system how they abuse their athletes, but I think even Russian and Chinese won’t do that! What a horrible environment!


    • Miss Val’s blog that you’ve linked to should be on the required reading list. Well written, insightful, but ultimately disturbing.


    • Who the hell is LAUGHING about athletes getting abused in other countries?

      USAG has done horrible things, but we should be careful about using their behaviour as a yardstick for acceptable behaviour. I.e. as long as other federations don’t sink that low, they’re okay. I know that’s not *quite* what you said, but all the same…


      • Chinese athletes are consistently teased by American and European athelets, even in social media. This is not a secret Chunsong Song for example people tease her height and boy figure, right happen in US. I am not says laugh at athelets being abused but rather laughter at their system. Our system is no better


  4. Was the monster (I refuse to type his name he is so vile) the doctor for the 2008 team in Beijing? Have we heard from any of them other than Nastia? I hope they are ok. I have a hard time believing the monster would have stopped for even one person at this point.


    • I don’t want to guess who is the victim who is not. But if he did abuse the 08 crop, Nastia will be the last one! As we know Nassar wouldn’t perform the sexual abuse treatment of the athelets’ father is a doc and if he is in the room. Nastia has the daddy to protect her. I am sorry for Bridget Sloan, whose coach is a monster and the team doc is a monster! Not sure if Nassar and Sharp pick up each other during so many times and occocations together…


  5. So sad to see how this has all been. the whole scandal has a lasting effect even on the new generation. hopefully for the better though. The problem should had been nipped in the bud a long time ago.


  6. Anyone with such methods as Martha Karolyi’s in the corporate world would be sued for psychological and physical harassment.

    I have not heard of any investigations against her. Why is that? Because gymnastics is a tough sport and that discipline is necessary to bring home medals? That sounds very soviet Union to me.

    After hearing Mattie Larson, I am literraly horrified.


    • People here joke about Valentina Rodionenko but the true witch has always been Martha. Unfortunately I am afraid abuse is highly correlated with medals – see what happened to Romania after younger generation girls weren’t willing to put up with abuse.


      • Do we know for fact that Rodionenko is an empowering coach who employs healthy and safe coaching methods?

        What if they’re both responsible for having done terrible things? I’m not trying to defend Marta because what she did was heinous. However, I worry when someone uses USAG’s behaviour to excuse other problematic behaviour/coaches/federations. It’s not a competition.


  7. After watching the victim impact statements, it is clear Nassar used gifts, praises, social media interactions to groom the kids. Please please some one has the connection to USAG and USOC tell them adult employees should not have personal interaction out of training facilities! This is so extreme important!


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  11. I am confused after hearing that LN gave a gift from the 2008 olympics to a survivor. I thought he wasn`t in those olympics as a doctor? was he there in 2004. it is kind of strange to not hear anything from those teams. Nastia and Shawn and Sam said they weren`t molested, Hopefully that is true, But there are plenty of other girls.
    I also sincerely hope that LN`s wife, and kids, are somehow coping with this, even though I can`t imagine how. this must be so horrible for them; I find myself thinking often how they can possibly move on from such a disaster.


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