US Women's Gymnastic Team, 2016 Secret US Classic, Author Scott and Emer Hults Photography, Source OTRS submission (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

Gymnasts at 2012 Secret US Classic, Author Scott and Emer Hults Photography, Source OTRS submission (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

The sport of gymnastics requires balance, strength, courage, and control.  Children may be enrolled in “kindergym” at 20 months of age; in recreational gymnastics at 3 y.o.  But serious gymnasts, those aiming for the Olympics, begin training around 6 y.o.  For that last group, the selection of a coach is crucial.

Dr. Larry Nassar was among the most respected and sought after.  Which makes it all the more shocking that Dr. Nassar, employed for 29 years by USA Gymnastics (the governing body for the sport), is being investigated by the FBI for child molestation [1].

Complaints – some dating as far back as the 1990s – have been made by over two dozen athletes.  Nassar, who has not yet been charged, denies any wrongdoing.

“Olympians represent our country.  They’re the best America has to offer.  These girls give up their childhood and their adolescence to try and fulfill their dream and win medals for their country — and what we have here is somebody who took advantage of that trust [2].”

–        John Manly, attorney for some of the athletes who allege they were violated by Dr. Larry Nassar

At least fifteen women claim Dr. Nassar penetrated them digitally, under the guise of medical treatment [3].  Victims ranged in age from 13 y.o. to 20 y.o. when their abuse started.  A 16 y.o. victim did report Dr. Nassar’s conduct to police in 2004.  No help was, however, forthcoming.

Initially, Nassar denied ever having employed penetration on a patient.  He now claims to have used a legitimate medical procedure for back pain.

According to the Indiana Osteopathic Association, such a procedure does exist.  However, it requires prior permission, the presence of an adult of the same gender as the patient, as well as the use of gloves and a lubricant.   The victims maintain these conditions were not met.

H. Sexual Misconduct.

Members of USA Gymnastics are expected to promote a safe environment for participants…which includes an environment free from sexual misconduct.  It is inconsistent with this obligation for any Member to:

  1. Solicit or engage in sexual relations with any minor.
  2. Engage in any behavior that utilizes the influence of a professional Member’s position as coach, judge, official or administrator to encourage sexual relations with an athlete or participant.
  3. Engage in sexual harassment by making unwelcome advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature where such conduct creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.

– USA Gymnastics, Code of Ethical Conduct,

If there is even a shred of truth to the allegations here, these young athletes were deprived of a safe environment and a rewarding experience, commensurate with their effort.  They were left instead with a lifetime of heartache…heartache that will take all the balance, strength, courage, and control they can muster.

[1][2] NBC News, “FBI Eyes Dr. Larry Nassar, Accused of Abusing Gymnasts” by S. Gosk, K. Powers, H. Rappleye, and T. Connor, 9/30/16,

[3]  USA Today, “16 more women accuse former USA Gymnastics doctor of sexual abuse” by M. Kwiatkowski, T. Evans, and M. Alesia, 9/26/16,

Former USA gymnastics coach, John Geddert, committed suicide
after charges of sexual assault and human trafficking were filed against him by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office. 

Geddert was, also, accused of lying to protect Olympic team physician, Larry Nassar.  


The Inspector General’s Office has since criticized the FBI’s Indianapolis Field Office for “fundamental errors” in its investigation of Larry Nassar.  These included a failure to respond expeditiously to the allegations of abuse.

Ultimately, it was determined that Nassar had sexually assaulted over 100 victims, and possessed thousands of images of child pornography.  This led to federal and state convictions. 




Filed under Child Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Sports, Violence Against Women

14 responses to “Gymnastics

  1. Monochrome nightmares

    Dear God.
    Man has so much to answer for.
    A very sad post Anna.

  2. Pure perversion under the guise of a profession.. If you are a man of prominence the law looks away.. God sees all! Romans 12:19

  3. That is very sad, but as awful as it is, there need not be a life time of pain and suffering. Healing is possible, wounds can stop causing us pain. 🙂

    • May that be the case for these girls.

      • Amen! Let’s pray they become as athletic at spiritual warfare as they are in the gym, and as limber in their spiritual healing as their bodies probably are.

        It’s hard to talk about the hope and healing that is possible, isn’t it? I’m always going in two directions, like “listen up people, this is a horrific theft of child’s mind, body, and spirit, having life altering consequences,” and yet I want victims to know, “you know what? You can heal, recover, and thrive, you can even restore what was lost.”

  4. This is beyond heinous…and I don’t care what the Osteopathic Association claims, I’m not buying it–there’s no bone in the vagina (or anus) needing manipulation.

  5. Thank you for bringing this to light. It will no doubt stir upon some of the members of the Church to know where to pray for healing and other areas on their behalf.

  6. Thank you, Anna, for publicizing this in such an authoritative, factual manner.

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