Simone Biles says Olympic officials still haven’t done enough in sexual abuse scandal response

Simone Biles on Wednesday again called on the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and USA Gymnastics to launch an independent investigation into the sexual abuse of hundreds of female competitors by a former team doctor now serving a life sentence.

“While the survivors are still out there competing I feel like (the sports organizations) just want to sweep it under the rug but that’s not how to go about it,” Biles said during the virtual U.S. Olympic media summit.

Biles, America’s most decorated gymnast in history with 30 Olympic and World Championship medals, said officials have implemented safety precautions at team camps and during travel to competitions.

“I do feel a little bit safer but at the end of the day, we still need to know and have an independent investigation,” said Biles, 24. “So for some of us survivors, it is disheartening to know that hasn’t happened.”

Biles, the five-time all-around world champion, is training to make her third consecutive Olympic team this summer at the Tokyo Games. She has publicly talked about being one of the victims of former U.S. gymnastics team physician Larry Nassar, who was charged with molesting athletes under the guise of treating them.

In 2018, Nassar, the former team doctor for Michigan State and USA Gymnastics, was sentenced to 175 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of sexual assault.

In March 2020, Biles and one of her Olympic teammates Aly Raisman criticized a proposed $215 million settlement that would have divided the money between more than 500 athletes who had sued USA Gymnastics over the abuse scandal.

Victims also have claimed USOPC officials failed to adequately protect them.

“In gymnastics, you get deductions for stepping out of the line but they just get slaps on the wrist and it keeps going,” Biles said Wednesday of those officials who she does not think did enough to stop the abuse. “I feel like there needs to be consequences for their actions — but I am sure it is coming.”

USA Gymnastics, the sport’s governing body, replaced all of its leaders 2 ½ years ago because of the scandal and also filed for bankruptcy.

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Author: Elliott Almond

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