Amid sexual scandal, Olympic champ Aly Raisman stands up

By Kate Beisner and Alexandria Hyers

The sexual assault scandals that have dominated the news have left many looking for the answers on how to end this corrupt cycle. When news was released that over 100 women have come forward against USA Gymnastics National doctor, Larry Nassar, the world was shocked. The athletes that shared their experiences have stated that Nassar used physicals as a guise for sexual assault.

In mid-September, two US gymnasts came forward and accused Nassar of sexual assault. Mckayla Maroney, 2012 Olympic champion, helped lead the movement, when she shared her story. Her story was just one of many in the social media movement: “Me Too.”

The news of the scandal broke ground completely, when Aly Raisman, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Champion, shared details about her career and sexual assault experiences on Sixty Minutes. She shared that in the ongoing investigation, she realized that Nassar had been sexually abusing her, even though he was a highly-regarded doctor for the team.

More than 100 athletes since then have accused Nassar. In light of these allegations, the president and CEO of USA gymnastics, Steve Penny, has stepped down from his position. Prior to doing so, Penny immediately notified law enforcement when he heard the allegations. According to a statement released by USA gymnastics, they have been, and will continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement.

Kerry J. Perry has been hired to replace Penny’s position and will start in December. She has a background in sports marketing and sales, and states that her main goal is to create an empowering environment. Critics claim that her background only reinforces the economic focus of gymnastics that was present in the past.

This raises the basis of Aly Raisman’s attempt to change the culture of the gymnastics world. Raisman wants to realign the environment that is present and help parents, gymnasts, and coaches avoid these situations in the future. She wants education and training to prevent these situations and to empower athletes to speak up about a situation that makes them uncomfortable.

“I think I just want to create change so that they never have to go through this,” said Raisman during her interview with Sixty Minutes.

She stated that her attention is on the future and that she wants to adjust the environment for those growing up in the sport.  

Raisman hopes that USA Gymnastics will create an experience for athletes that will prevent assault from occurring, and encourage athletes to speak up amid the sexual assault stories.

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