NEW YORK (AP) Simone Biles met the new president of USA Gymnastics but hasn’t heard from the U.S. Olympic Committee regarding the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.
The four-time gold medalist at the Rio Olympics is among those who say they were sexually abused by Nassar, a former team doctor for the governing body for American gymnastics.
USA Gymnastics president Kerry Perry spoke with Biles at her gym in suburban Houston, where she is training for the 2020 Tokyo Games.
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”I have not heard from the USOC, but the new president of USA Gymnastics did fly down and introduce herself to me, but not in regards to the whole entire situation,” Biles said Wednesday in a phone interview with The Associated Press. ”There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done, like independent investigations. So they can ensure this never happens in any sport again.”
Nassar has been sentenced to 60 years in prison on child pornography charges and 40 to 175 years for abusing young women and girls while working at Michigan State University. He also is facing sentencing for molesting gymnasts at an elite club in Lansing, Michigan.
USOC CEO Scott Blackmun wrote an open letter last week apologizing to the women and girls abused by Nassar. The entire USA Gymnastics board of directors resigned Friday and Blackmun called for an independent investigation into how Nassar was allowed to abuse athletes for decades.
”Any of us girls that have gone through what we’ve been through are finally happy that (Nassar) will no longer be able to hurt anybody else,” Biles said. ”But I feel like there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done so we can actually feel like this has gone somewhere. So we’re not stuck in the same place wondering who did this or when or why it happened.”
On Jan. 15, Biles posted a statement on her Twitter account, saying she was sexually abused by Nassar but she ”won’t let one man, and the others that enabled him, to steal my love and joy.” Fellow Olympic stars Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney have made similar disclosures of abuse.
Biles, the most decorated American gymnast with 14 world championship medals, thinks investigations, awareness and education are key to keeping kids safer in sports.
She called Raisman and Judge Rosemarie Aquilina her heroes – Raisman for joining the group of women who confronted Nassar in court last week and the judge for allowing so many to speak.
”It’s eye-opening and it’s very empowering and very inspiring to hear the other girls go out and speak so strongly about something so devastating,” Biles said. ”That has happened not only to the athletes and the girls and the men, but also to our sport.”
USA Gymnastics recently severed ties with the Karolyi Ranch in Texas after Biles wrote on Twitter that she dreaded returning to the same training facility where she was abused.
Biles is currently working out at her home gymnastics facility in preparation for the World Championships in October. The 4-foot-8 powerhouse set the bar high for the Tokyo Olympics after her accomplishments in Rio. But she said on the ”Today” show Wednesday that she wants to improve on the balance beam, where she finished with a bronze.
The 20-year-old Biles also plans to study business online, through the tuition-free University of the People, where there’s a scholarship in her name devoted to foster children.
On Saturday night, Lifetime will debut the TV movie ”The Simone Biles Story: Courage to Soar.”