Simone Biles on Wednesday talked about being sexually abused by disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar and described the toll it has taken on her life.
The Olympic gymnast said during an appearance on NBC’s “Megyn Kelly Today” that she initially was in denial about the molestation. She said she had repeatedly told her parents that Nassar had never abused her.
“I would be angry, and I didn’t want to talk about it, because I’m like, ‘No, it couldn’t happen to me ― there’s just no way,’” Biles, 20, said. “And then you come to realize that it has happened, and I think that’s when I broke down about it.”
“It feels like he took a part of me that I can’t get back,” she added. “The main part that he took away from that I’ll never get back is trust, and so I think it’s very hard for me to trust some other people. I find myself even walking down the street, or being in places, I’m just very scared. ... But I think it will all come back in time.”
Biles appeared on NBC’s “Today” earlier on Wednesday, and got choked up talking about Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who last week sentenced Nassar to up to 175 years in prison for sexually assaulting young athletes under the guise of medical treatment.
She also criticized the U.S. Olympic Committee for not reaching out to her after she came forward with allegations against Nassar.
“I think it’s very hard for someone to go through what I’ve gone through recently,” Biles said. “And it’s very hard to talk about, but other than that I think the judge is my hero just because she gave it to him straight and didn’t let him get any power over any of the girls, and letting the girls go and speak was very powerful.”
More than 150 women, including Team USA gymnasts and former Michigan State University athletes, read powerful victim impact statements during Nassar’s seven-day sentencing hearing in which they described their experiences with him.
Biles did not attend the hearing, but she supported her fellow survivors and said Wednesday that she was “very happy” with Nassar’s prison sentence.
“I wish [Aquilina] would have just given him a crazy number, like 3,000 years or something,” Biles said. “But other than that, she was a boss and she was absolutely amazing.”
Biles said Kerry Perry, the newly appointed president of USA Gymnastics, visited her recently but did not discuss the Nassar abuse. She said she’s still waiting to hear from the U.S. Olympic Committee.
“I was one of their top athletes advocating for not only gymnastics but for the Olympics and all of that,” Biles said. “I think it’s kind of crazy, but hopefully they’ll reach out.”
Aly Raisman, who competed alongside Biles in the 2016 Olympics and was widely praised for her impact statement during Nassar’s hearing, has also criticized USA Gymnastics for failing to reach out to her since her appearance in the courtroom.
This article has been updated with Biles’ comments from “Megyn Kelly Today.”