Simone Biles competed in the USA Gymnastics Championships in Kansas City when she took some time to speak to the media about the sexual abuse scandal involving disgraced doctor Larry Nassar, who is spending the rest of his life behind bars for sexually assaulting hundreds of women.
Reports into the scandal showed that USA Gymnastics failed to protect its athletes and that led to an emotional response from Biles.
“I don’t mean to cry, but it’s hard coming here for an organization and having had them fail us so many times,” Biles said, according to NBC-affiliate KSHB-TV. “We’ve done everything they asked us for even when we didn’t want to. And they couldn’t do one damn job. You had one job. You literally had one job and you couldn’t protect us.
“You feel everything at once. It hits you like a train wreck and it was really hard for me to train. It just breaks my heart to read it or to see it, so I just try to focus on my job, do what I’m supposed to, come out, compete, do what I love, and at the end of the day we just see.”
USA Gymnastics President and CEO Li Li Leung responded to Biles’ comments and admitted that USA Gymnastics still has more work to do.
“Simone Biles is undoubtedly the best gymnast in the world and possibly of all time. She is an outstanding representative for gymnastics and the United States. We at USA Gymnastics have made a lot of progress in strengthening our athlete safety measures and putting our athletes first, but we know we have more to do,” the statement read.
“One of our goals is for our athletes to feel comfortable in speaking up and sharing their opinions, and we are listening to what they have to say. We will continue to work hard to demonstrate to Simone and all of our athletes, members, community and fans that we are working to foster a safe, positive and encouraging environment where athlete voices are heard. We join the rest of her fans and the sport in wishing her the best of success this week at the championships.”
USA Gymnastics, however, failed to outline any specific changes and initially denied that it had any involvement in covering up Nassar’s abuse throughout the years.