Simone Biles has revealed that if she had a daughter, she would not let her compete for USA Gymnastics, saying the organization has ‘failed so many athletes’ with its response to the Larry Nassar abuse scandal.
In an interview with 60 Minutes that aired on Sunday, the 23-year-old Olympic gymnast opened up about the bitterness she still feels towards the organization over its failure to protect her and other athletes from the former USA Gymnastics national team doctor, who sexually abused hundreds of women and girls over the course of his 30-year career.
When asked if she would let a future daughter of hers be part of the USA Gymnastics program, Biles said, ‘No. Because I don’t feel comfortable enough, because they haven’t taken accountability for their actions and what they’ve done. And they haven’t ensured us that it’s never going to happen again.’
Candid: Simone Biles, 23, admitted she is still angry at USA Gymnastics over its handling of the Larry Nassar abuse scandal in an interview with 60 Minutes
Failure: Biles (pictured at the 2019 World Championships) said USAG failed to protect her from Nassar, who sexually abused hundreds of athletes as the team doctor
Nassar was sentenced to 175 years in prison, but Biles feels there are still too many questions about the scandal that remain unanswered by USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee. She has repeatedly called for an independent investigation into what happened.
Sentenced: Nassar was sentenced to 175 years in jail in 2018 at a trial that had dozens of gymnasts sharing powerful victim-impact statements in front of the court
‘Oh, it’s far from over. Just who knew what, when?’ she said of USA Gymnastics. ‘You guys have failed so many athletes. And most of us underage. You guys don’t think that’s a bigger problem? Like, if that were me and I knew something I’d want it resolved immediately.
The gold-medal-winning gymnast said she ‘one hundred per cent’ feels the organization has failed her, adding: ‘We bring them medals. We do our part. You can’t do your part in return? It’s just, like, it’s sickening.’
Biles initially remained silent about the abuse, explaining in the interview that she felt she couldn’t even open up to her parents about what had happened.
‘It was so hard for me to even say it out loud, that I knew how hard, like, it crushed me. It would crush my parents,’ she said. ‘And I didn’t want them to feel the same pain that I felt. Because it was very dark times.’
Biles broke her silence in January 2018 on the even of Nassar’s sentencing hearing, first telling her mom, Nellie Biles, that she had been abused by the disgraced doctor.
Honest: Biles (pictured in Rio in 2016) said that if she had a daughter, she would not let her compete for the organization because ‘they haven’t taken accountability for their actions’
Hard to handle: Biles, who is training for her final Olympics, said she struggled with depression and considered quitting after the Tokyo Games were postponed due to COVID
‘She was crying. And she said, “Mom, I have to talk to you,”‘ Biles’s mother recalled. ‘And I know Simone well, and I knew…I knew what the conversation was going to be. We just cried and cried. And she didn’t say anything. We just cried because I knew.’
Biles tweeted about the abuse that night, revealing that she, like her ‘Fierce Five’ teammates McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, and Gabby Douglas, was one of Nassar’s many victims.
The gymnast, who has one 19 world titles, is currently training for the Tokyo Olympics, waking up at 6 a.m. for six hours of training, six days a week.
Biles, who plans on retiring after her final Olympics, admitted that she struggled with depression and even thought about quitting the sport last year after the Games were postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic
‘I just sat there and I was like, “I really don’t know how I’m gonna do this. Like, another year out? I don’t think it’s possible for me at this point mentally,”‘ she recalled.
‘Pushing through those trainings when I had in my mind, “In three months I’ll be done,” it’s like, how do you push back for another year?’
Sporty couple: While training for the Olympics in Tokyo, Biles cheered on her NFL star boyfriend Jonathan Owens, who is a safety for the Houston Texans
Look of love: The couple celebrated Valentine’s Day together on Sunday
Biles’s gym in Texas was closed for seven weeks, the most time she has had off from training since she started gymnastics. It was her coaches who inspired her to keep going despite the setback.
‘It took a little bit of time. But then I talked to my coaches and Cecile especially was like, “You know what, Simone? You’ve trained so hard for this. Why would you give it up?”‘ she said. ‘And I’m, like, “Yeah, you’re right. Like I didn’t come this far to only come this far.”‘
USA Gymnastics responded to Biles’s interview in a statement to 60 Minutes.
‘We want to repeat our apology to all those who have been harmed and underscore our commitment to uncovering and addressing the organizational failures that contributed to an environment in which Nassar preyed on athletes,’ the organization said.
‘We recognize how deeply we have broken the trust of our athletes and community, and are working hard to build that trust back.’