Jordyn Wieber is speaking out about the sexual abuse and molestation she was subject to at the Texas gym owned by two former head coaches of the US Women’s Gymnastics team, Bela and Marta Karolyi.
The gold-medal winning athlete said in an interview with CNN that she would often room with Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney while training at the Karolyi’s ranch, with all three girls earning a spot on the 2012 Olympic team.
It was during these quiet nights alone with her fellow gymnasts and closest friends that Wieber began to speak about Larry Nassar with the girls, who were soon all confiding in one another.
‘We just thought it was very strange that he did this weird medical treatment, this weird technique,’ said Wieber of Nassar’s predatory procedure, in which he digitally penetrated the young woman with multiple fingers and without gloves.
Wieber also said that Marta had to be aware of Nasar’s calculated and methodical assaults.
Shocking claim: Jordyn Wieber spoke about Larry Nassar and the Karolyis in an interview with CNN, saying she believes Marta knew of Nassar’s abuse (l to r: McKayla Maoney, Jordyn Wieber and Aly Rasiman at 2012 Olympics with Marta)
Victims: She also said that she, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney (above) confided in one another about Nassar’s ‘weird treatments’
Ice bucket challenge: All three of the girls competed at the 2012 Olympics and won gold, despite Nassar molesting some of them on the trip
Predator|: ‘We just thought it was very strange that he did this weird medical treatment, this weird technique,’ said Wieber (above with Nassar in foreground at 2012 Olympics)
‘Marta was the national team coordinator but the way I saw it, she sort of had control over anything and everything that went on at the ranch,’ explained Wieber.
‘She knew what was going on every second in the gym. She knew how many routines that we did. She knew what we were eating. She knew our treatments.’
Wieber continued: ‘So it was just, when you go there, you know that Martha is watching. Everything you’re doing, she’s watching.’
Her friend Raisman feels the same, and has made her stance very publicly known by filing a lawsuit against USGA and the US Olympic Committee.
Raisman, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, said in November that she was sexually abused by Nassar, who pleaded guilty last year to molesting female athletes under the guise of medical treatment for nearly 20 years.
‘I refuse to wait any longer for these organizations to do the right thing. It is my hope that the legal process will hold them accountable and enable the change that is so desperately needed,’ she said in a statement at the time.
According to her lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, Raisman still suffers from ‘depression, anxiety and fear’ stemming from the abuse.
It was filed in California state court in Santa Clara County.
The 23-year-old athlete was among nearly 200 gymnasts, including several Olympic medalists, who spoke out during Nassar’s televised sentencing hearings about decades of abuse.
In January and February, in separate sentencing hearings in Michigan, Nassar received prison terms of 40 to 125 years and 40 to 175 years. He is also serving a 60-year federal term for child pornography convictions.
The lawsuit contends that the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Gymnastics and former executives of the sport’s governing body had the authority and mandate to discipline Nassar but never intervened.
The lawsuit said the defendants, including two former USA Gymnastics officials, could have prevented the molestation if they had been serious about their duty to protect young athletes but instead they “put their quest for money and medals above the safety” of the plaintiff and other athletes.
Brave: Wieber speaks at Nassar’s sentencing hearing back in January, when she first went public with her story
Fear: ‘Marta was the national team coordinator but the way I saw it, she sort of had control over anything and everything that went on at the ranch,’ explained Wieber.
Good as gold: Multiple other national team members and Raisman have also said that they believe the Karoliyis were aware of Nassar’s ‘treatments’ (girls above with Caitlyn Jenner)
Team girls: The three girls above in London at the Olympics
That belief was echoed by three other national team members in an interview earlier this year.
Minutes into an appearance on The Story with Martha MacCallum, Jeanette Antolin said the two most famous coaches in the history of the sport knew that girls were being sexually abused.
‘Did Bela and Marta Karolyi know what [Nassar’s] treatment consisted of?’ asked MacCallum.
‘In my opinion, they had to know. They’ve known about — I know that they’ve — knew about sexual abuse dating back from the ’70s,’ said Antolin.
‘Not just from Larry Nassar, but other coaches that they 100 per cent knew that children were being sexually abused.’
Olympian Jamie Dantzscher nodded in agreement.
A shocked MacCallum repeated back Antolin’s line in a state of disbelief.
‘There were other coaches there that were abusing people?’ she asked Antolin.
‘Yes, there’s other coaches right now abusing athletes. That’s why we keep talking about the whole culture, and the fact that it’s not just mental, physical and emotional abuse,’ explained Antolin.
‘That I’ve been to therapy – you know, years of therapy trying to deal with that side of the abuse. And when I realized there was sex abuse, I said: “Just add it to the list.” You know?’
The women then shared even more heartbreaking details about the culture at the Karolyi Ranch in Texas, where the national team would train.
‘Well, you know, we’d get up in the morning, and they would provide us food, if they had it,’ said Dantzscher.
‘I mean, they would search our bags for food. We weren’t allowed to bring food. Our parents were not allowed to go to the ranch. Usually, wake up and have breakfast. And we were not supposed to talk to each other at breakfast.’
MacCallum, again in a state of disbelief, asked why this was the rule.
‘It’s a distraction,’ said Mattie Larson.
‘Yes, exactly. They wanted us to be focused 100 per cent of the time. And I was afraid to – we weren’t allowed to talk, we weren’t allowed to smile. We weren’t allowed to talk to each other,’ said Dantzscher.
‘I was afraid to even say when I was really injured. And that was the other thing, I don’t even remember being able to tell my coaches or the national staff about my injuries.’
She later explained she was afraid that a reported injury would be met with the news that someone else had taken her spot on the team.
Dantzscher said because of this it was Nassar who the girls would tell about their injuries, and no one else.
It was also Nassar who, because of his own perversion, would allow the girls to compete while severely injured, which pleased the coaches.
Dantzscher also noted at one point that Nassar was so complicit in not reporting the physical and menial abuse he witnessed between other coaches and the girls.
Larson, meanwhile, was not willing to say that the Karolyis knew of the abuse, stating: ‘A part of me believes that they didn’t know.’
She then quickly added: ‘I also think they just honestly did not care.’