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Former national champion hits out at USA Gymnastics

A former member of the USA junior national gymnastics team has added her voice to the throngs of athletes denouncing USA Gymnastics’ handling of the Larry Nassar scandal. 

Two-time All-American Katelyn Ohashi took to Instagram on Tuesday to take a shot at the organization after more than 200 women came forward to read victim impact statements at the sentencing hearing for disgraced doctor Larry Nassar – who was sentenced to 175 years in jail on Wednesday afternoon.

The former junior national champion, and current UCLA team member, wrote: ‘College gymnastics is the reward we receive after years of abuse. it’s the time of discovery, healing, learning, growing, and having the time of our lives.’

Happier days: Former USA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi took a swipe at USA Gymnastics on Instagram as the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar wraps up

Happier days: Former USA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi took a swipe at USA Gymnastics on Instagram as the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar wraps up

Making it clear: The current UCLA gymnast suggested she was much happier since leaving the elite level of the sport

Making it clear: The current UCLA gymnast suggested she was much happier since leaving the elite level of the sport

Hitting the mark: The 20-year-old was a four-time member of the junior national team and is a two-time All-American and former junior national champion

Hitting the mark: The 20-year-old was a four-time member of the junior national team and is a two-time All-American and former junior national champion

The post also included a pair of photos of Katelyn smiling away in a glittering blue leotard as she steps on to the mats. 

Katelyn has also previously talked about the importance of supporting the women who are bravely telling their stories in an interview with theDaily Bruin. 

‘It’s supporting everyone that has come forward, and showing them that we are with them,’ she said. 

‘We are here to support them, and encourage them to share their story, and help any of those that are dealing with the same issue.’

The disgraced doctor pleaded guilty to molesting female gymnasts, including superstar Olympians McKayla Maroney, Gabby Douglas, Jordyn Wieber and Simone Biles.

On Wednesday afternoon, he was sentenced to 175 years in jail by Judge Rosemarie Aquilinia, who eviscerated the doctor in front of the many of his 150 victims who stood up in court to detail the abuse the suffered at his hands.   

‘Sir, you knew you had a problem. That’s clear to me. You knew you had a problem from a very young age. You could have taken yourself away from temptation and you did not. Worse yet, there isn’t a survivor that didn’t come in and say how world-renowned you were.

‘You can’t give them back their innocence, their youth. You can’t give a father back his life.’ 

Final days: Larry Nassar, who plead guilty to sexually abusing hundreds of female athletes, looks at the gallery in the court during the sixth day of his sentencing hearing Tuesday

Final days: Larry Nassar, who plead guilty to sexually abusing hundreds of female athletes, looks at the gallery in the court during the sixth day of his sentencing hearing Tuesday

Fighter: Katelyn has previously spoken out in support of the more than 200 women who have come forward with their tales of abuse

Fighter: Katelyn has previously spoken out in support of the more than 200 women who have come forward with their tales of abuse

Ups and downs: Katelyn also blasted USA Gymnastics last summer in an eye-opening blog post

Ups and downs: Katelyn also blasted USA Gymnastics last summer in an eye-opening blog post

However, while Nassar’s horrific sexual violations of young girls have been the focal point of the attention being given to the failings of USA Gymnastics, it is likely just one of the abuses that Katelyn was referring to in her post.

The athlete, who was a four-time member of USA Gymnastics’ junior national team, made headlines last summer after sharing a blog post detailing her experiences with body-shaming at the hands of coaches at the elite level of the sport.

She shared a number of distressing diary entries from her time on the junior national team and even claimed that she was ‘asked to sign a contract that would basically prohibit me from training if I did not lose weight.’

She added: ‘If I “looked” bigger on a given day, I had to run and condition with heavy sweats until it seemed like I was “ready” to start practice.’

In the journal entries, she also claimed to having been kicked out of practice multiple times for being too heavy.

Though she didn’t name names, it was clear that the instances described happened while she was training under Valeri Liukin – the current head coach of the Women’s National Team – who had previously been accused of forcing gymnasts to weigh themselves multiple times over singular training sessions. 

In response to Katelyn’s blog, her former teammate Sarah DeMeo made her own accusation on Twitter, revealing that Valeri had forced them to complete beam routines with weight belts attached to their waists. 

Survived: In the post she included entries from her diary from when she was training for the national team, saying she was frequently shamed for being too 'heavy'

Survived: In the post she included entries from her diary from when she was training for the national team, saying she was frequently shamed for being too ‘heavy’

Working up: She also claimed she 'was asked to sign a contract that would basically prohibit me from training if I did not lose weight'

Working up: She also claimed she ‘was asked to sign a contract that would basically prohibit me from training if I did not lose weight’

Another hit: Katelyn's blog may have been in reference to the coaching style of coach Valeri Liukin (pictured in 2008 with daughter Nastia)

Another hit: Katelyn’s blog may have been in reference to the coaching style of coach Valeri Liukin (pictured in 2008 with daughter Nastia)

Indeed, although the Nassar trial came to an end on Wednesday with the doctor’s first accuser Rachael Denhollander being the last of the many victims to face her abuser, trouble appears to be just beginning for USA Gymnastics.

During her own impassioned statement in court on Tuesday, former US national champion Mattie Larson revealed that a USA Gymnastics representative was in the room while she was assaulted by Nassar. 

She specifically called out coaches Martha and Bela Karolyi along with Valeri for allegedly fostering an atmosphere that allowed Nassar to escalate his behavior. 

Despite having just won the title of national champion, Mattie stepped away from gymnastics in 2010. She revealed in court that this happened after she attempted to give herself a concussion by purposely falling on the bathroom floor in order to avoid national training camp.  

She said her abuse at the camp later led her into an ‘intense and destructive eating disorder for six years.’ 

Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson also came out this week with a video slamming USA Gymnastics for ‘failing to protect its athletes’ and says if she had a daughter right now, she wouldn’t let her join the sport.

She addressed her fellow athletes in the video, calling them ‘heroes’ and adding: ‘I love you.’  

Another voice: Shawn Johnson (pictured at the Beijing Olympics in 2008) also spoke out in support of her fellow gymnasts

Another voice: Shawn Johnson (pictured at the Beijing Olympics in 2008) also spoke out in support of her fellow gymnasts

Another voice: Shawn Johnson (pictured at the Beijing Olympics in 2008) also spoke out in support of her fellow gymnasts

In support: In her video, Olympic champion Shawn said that USA Gymnastics has 'failed their athletes so terribly'

In support: In her video, Olympic champion Shawn said that USA Gymnastics has ‘failed their athletes so terribly’

Her truth: Aly Raisman has been a vocal critic of USA Gymnastics and how it handled the Nassar scandal, blasting them in her own victim impact statement

Her truth: Aly Raisman has been a vocal critic of USA Gymnastics and how it handled the Nassar scandal, blasting them in her own victim impact statement

‘You have experienced some of the worst evil in the world and to know you guys have a voice and you’re standing up for so many people just know you are my heroes,’ she said through tears. 

On Monday, three of USA Gymnastics’ top-ranking board members stepped down on in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal, including the board’s chairman Paul Parilla, vice chairman Jay Binder and treasurer Bitsy Kelley.

AT&T also announced it would be removing USA Gymnastics as a sponsor over its handling of the scandal. 

Olympic champion Aly Raisman has been another particularly vocal opponent to the organization’s attitude and actions when it came to Larry Nassar. She described USA Gymnastics in her own victim impact statement as ‘rotting from the inside.”

‘Even now, after all that has happened, USA Gymnastics has the nerve to say the very same things it has said all along. Can’t you see how disrespectful that is? Can’t you see how much that hurts?’ she said. 

‘We need an independent investigation of exactly what happened, what went wrong, and how it can be avoided for the future. Only then can we know what changes are needed.’ 



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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