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Maggie Nichols becomes NCAA number one gymnast

Maggie Nichols became the number one college gymnast in the country on Friday after a stellar performance in a meet between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Florida Gators.

The 20-year-old sophomore at the University of Oklahoma scored a national high of 39.775 in the all-around competition, moving her into the top spot in the nation with a 39.700 average. 

Nichols returned to college gymnastics at the start of the season this month, just a week after she revealed she was sexually assaulted by Larry Nassar.

Top spot: Maggie Nichols became the number one college gymnast in the country on Friday after a meet between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Florida Gators 

Celebration: The 20-year-old sophomore at the University of Oklahoma scored a nation-high 39.775 in the all-around competition

Celebration: The 20-year-old sophomore at the University of Oklahoma scored a nation-high 39.775 in the all-around competition

In addition to taking home the all-around title against the Gators on Friday, she won event titles on bars and floor, with respective scores of 9.950 and 9.975. 

Although she earned a 9.975 on vault, she lost first place to Gators gymnast Alex McMurty, who scored a perfect 10 in the event. Nichols rounded out the competition with a 9.875 on beam.

Nichols is ranked in the top ten in three out of four events as she is first on vault, second on bars, and sixth on floor.    

Although the defending champions were ranked number one in the pre-season, the team lost to the Gators, who are ranked number five, despite Nichols’ impressive performance.

As a freshman, she helped her college team secure it’s second straight NCAA Championship title after scoring a perfect 10 on the balance beam. 

Earlier this month, Nichols announced that she was the first young woman who testified against the Nassar, the US Gymnastics team doctor.

‘Up until now, I was identified as Athlete A by USA gymnastics, the US Olympic Committee and Michigan State University,’ stated Nichols in a powerful open letter.

Winner: Nichols won event titles on bars and floor, with respective scores of 9.950 and 9.975

Winner: Nichols won event titles on bars and floor, with respective scores of 9.950 and 9.975

Her story: Earlier this month, Nichols revealed she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar. She is pictured at the NCAA Women's Gymnastics National Championship in April 2017

Her story: Earlier this month, Nichols revealed she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar. She is pictured at the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics National Championship in April 2017

‘I want everyone to know that he did not do this to Athlete A, he did it to Maggie Nichols.’

Later in the letter she described her relationship with Nassar by writing: ‘His job was to care for our health and treat our injuries. Instead, he violated our innocence.’ 

Nichols, a former member of the US national team, went on to state that she first met Nassar when she was 13 or 14, noting that he proved incredibly adept at dealing with an elbow injury she had at that time.

Things changed, however, when she turned 15 and started to experience back pain, an injury that forced her to be alone in the room with Nassar, at which point the alleged assaults began.

Nichols is the latest gymnast from a past national team to go public with allegations against Nassar, following in the footsteps of Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, Gaby Douglas and Jamie Dantzscher.

‘My back was really hurting me, I couldn’t even really bend down, and I remember he took me into the training room, closed the door and closed the blinds,’ wrote Nichols.

‘At the time I thought this was kind of weird but figured it must be okay. I thought he probably didn’t want to distract the other girls and I trusted him.’

Public revelation: Nichols (center with Simone Biles and Madison Kocian), a former member of the US national team, explained in an open letter she was molested by Nassar

Public revelation: Nichols (center with Simone Biles and Madison Kocian), a former member of the US national team, explained in an open letter she was molested by Nassar

Brave: The college student revealed that she was the first to formally accuse Nassar and inform USA Gymnastics about his molestation of her in 2015 (pictured with Gabby Douglas)

Brave: The college student revealed that she was the first to formally accuse Nassar and inform USA Gymnastics about his molestation of her in 2015

Brave: The college student revealed that she was the first to formally accuse Nassar and inform USA Gymnastics about his molestation of her in 2015 (left with Gabby Douglas)

That trust lasted for just moments, however, and quickly turned into fear and confusion for the teenager.

‘I trusted what he was doing at first, but then he started touching me in places I really didn’t think he should. He didn’t have gloves on and he didn’t tell me what he was doing,’ explained Nichols. 

‘There was no one else in the room and I accepted what he was doing because I was told by adults that he was the best doctor and he could help relieve my pain.’

She then noted: ‘He did this “treatment” on me, on numerous occasions.’

Nichols also took aim at the organization that supported Nassar, and in her opinion protected him while continuing to allow him to treat numerous young women.

‘USA Gymnastics and the USOC did not provide a safe environment for me and my teammates to train,’ stated Nichols. 

‘We were subjected to Dr. Nassar at every National Team Camp which occurred monthly at the Karolyi Ranch.’ 

Sentence: Nassar was sentenced to 175 years in prison last Wednesday after a highly emotional seven-day sentencing hearing in a Michigan courtroom

Sentence: Nassar was sentenced to 175 years in prison last Wednesday after a highly emotional seven-day sentencing hearing in a Michigan courtroom

Confess: Nassar confessed to sexually penetrating multiple young girls who were as young as 10 back in November

Confess: Nassar confessed to sexually penetrating multiple young girls who were as young as 10 back in November

Friend indeed: Aly Raisman showed her support for Nichols on Twitter earlier this month

Friend indeed: Aly Raisman showed her support for Nichols on Twitter earlier this month

She closed out her letter by thanking her friends and family members along with her faith, saying it has helped her through this difficult time.

Nichols also called herself a ‘work in progress.’ 

Raisman tweeted her support for Nichols on Tuesday, writing: ‘I support you @MagsGotSwag12 proud of you for sharing your story. I stand with you. I know this is not easy but I know you are incredibly strong. We will get through this together!’

Nassar confessed to sexually penetrating multiple young girls who were as young as 10 back in November.

He was sentenced to 175 years in prison last Wednesday after a highly emotional seven-day sentencing hearing in a Michigan courtroom.

‘I just signed your death warrant,’ said Judge Rosemarie Aquilinia, referencing the fact that Nassar would never again be a free man and die in prison.

Nassar had agreed to serve a minimum sentence of 40 years as part of a plea deal, with that prison time coming after he completes his 60-year federal sentence for child pornography charges.  

Maggie Nichols reveals she was also molested by Larry Nassar – and says she is ‘Victim A’ in open letter

Recently, three of my friends and former National Team members who medaled at the 2012 Olympics have bravely stepped forward to proclaim they were sexually assaulted by USA Gymnastics Team Physician Dr. Larry Nassar.

Today I join them.

I am making the decision to tell my traumatic story and hope to join the forces with my friends and teammates to bring about true change.

Up until now, I was identified as Athlete A by USA gymnastics, the US Olympic Committee and Michigan State University. I want everyone to know that he did not do this to Athlete A, he did it to Maggie Nichols.

In the summer of 2015, my coach and I reported this abuse to USA Gymnastics leadership.

I first started Gymnastics when I was three and since I was a child, I always had the dream of competing for my country in the Olympic Games. I made elite level gymnastics when I was 13. By the time I was 14, I made the USA National Team. I traveled internationally for 4 years attending competitions and in 2015 competed at the World Championships representing our country.

People who watch gymnastics see young girls fly through the air and do all kinds of amazing things. You can imagine that having a good doctor is absolutely necessary to compete at the highest level. Dr. Larry Nassar was regarded throughout the sport as the very best by coaches and staff throughout the gymnastics community. He was a doctor at Michigan State University and the Olympic and Team USA doctor assigned to us by USA Gymnastics at the Olympic Training Center at the Karolyi Ranch. He was supposed to care for us and treat our injuries. The first time I met Dr. Nassar I was about 13 or 14 years old and receiving treatment for an elbow injury. At the time it seemed like he knew exactly what therapy was necessary for me to recover. Initially, he did nothing unusual.

But when I was 15 I started to have back problems while at a National Team Camp at the Karolyi Ranch. This is when the changes in his medical treatments occurred.

My back was really hurting me, I couldn’t even really bend down, and I remember he took me into the training room, closed the door and closed the blinds. At the time I thought this was kind of weird but figured it must be okay. I thought he probably didn’t want to distract the other girls and I trusted him.

I trusted what he was doing at first, but then he started touching me in places I really didn’t think he should. He didn’t have gloves on and he didn’t tell me what he was doing. There was no one else in the room and I accepted what he was doing because I was told by adults that he was the best doctor and he could help relieve my pain.

He did this “treatment” on me, on numerous occasions.

Not only was Larry Nassar my doctor, I thought he was my friend. He contacted me on Facebook complimenting me and telling me how beautiful I looked on numerous occasions. But I was only 15 and I just thought he was trying to be nice to me. Now I believe this was part of the grooming process I recently learned about.

One day at practice, I was talking to my teammate, and brought up Dr. Nassar and his treatments. When I was talking to her, my coach overheard. I had never told my coach about these treatments. After hearing our conversation she asked me more questions about it and said it doesn’t seem right. I showed her the Facebook messages and told her about what Nassar was doing. My coach thought it was wrong, so she did the right thing and reported this abuse to the USA Gymnastics staff.

USA Gymnastics and the USOC did not provide a safe environment for me and my teammates to train. We were subjected to Dr. Nassar at every National Team Camp which occurred monthly at the Karolyi Ranch. His job was to care for our health and treat our injuries. Instead, he violated our innocence.

I later found out that Michigan State University had ignored complaints against Larry Nassar from other girls going back 20 years and had investigated him for sexual assault in 2014. They never told USA Gymnastics. If they had, I might never have met Larry Nassar and I would never have been abused by him.

I have come to the realization that my voice can have influence over the manner in which our USA athletes are treated.

Throughout everything that has happened, my faith in God has sustained me. I would like to let everyone know that I am doing OK. My strong faith has helped me endure. It is a work in progress. I will strive to ensure the safety of young athletes who have big dreams just like mine and I will encourage them to stand up and speak if something doesn’t seem right.

I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart that has helped me through this difficult time. My parents, coaches, and friends who have known about it, and that have stood by my side through it all. I would not have been able to be so strong without each of you.

 



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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