She detailed a horrifying incident with the doctor at the 2011 World Championships.
A 2012 Olympic gold medalist took a break from cheering on the U.S. women’s gymnastics team at the 2021 Summer Olympics to shed some light on her own experiences with USA Gymnastics (USAG). McKayla Maroney’s tweets about Larry Nassar and USA Gymnastics are an eye-opening look at her time with organization. On Aug. 1, the now-retired Maroney took her followers aback when she detailed an alleged incident she said happened at the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo, where she said she was “alone, naked, with Larry Nassar on top of me.” Elite Daily reached out to USA Gymnastics and Nassar’s lawyer appellate attorney Jacqueline McCann, but did not hear back by the time of publication.
In a series of tweets on Sunday, Maroney shed more light on the abuse she endured at the hands of former Team USA doctor and convicted sex offender, Nassar — and the reported USAG restrictions she said allowed for it to happen. (Nassar pleaded guilty to multiple accounts of sexual assault of minors in 2018 and was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison.)
It all started when someone asked Maroney in a tweet on Sunday, “So parents don’t protect [their] kids in Gymnastics?”
Maroney said parents of gymnasts weren’t allowed to be with the athletes when she competed as a minor in the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo and the 2012 Olympics in London. “We were not allowed to see our parents until after competitions, they were not allowed to stay at our hotel, or speak to us in person. We were in ‘USAG’s care,’” Maroney tweeted.
The gold medalist said the gymnasts’ parents were viewed as a “distraction,” adding that her mom even sent food packages to her hotel when Maroney competed in Tokyo at the 2011 World Championships because she said she was “starving.” Maroney said her mom “did everything she could to help.”
“USAG says they’re not responsible for the abuse that happened,” Maroney wrote, referring to the abuse that she and other gymnasts were subjected to by Nassar while competing for Team USA. “Well then who is?” USA Gymnastics didn’t immediately respond to Elite Daily’s inquiry regarding Maroney’s claims.
Maroney then tweeted directly at USAG and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC), asking whose fault it was that she was allegedly “all alone, naked, with Larry Nassar on top of [her] for 50min [bawling]” at the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo when she was 15 years old. Elite Daily reached out to USOPC for comment on Maroney’s allegations, but did not hear back at the time of publication. Maroney has previously said Nassar abused her “hundreds” of times since she first met him at Karolyi ranch in Texas when she was 13 years old, per NBC.
Maroney first told NBC News in April 2018 of the 2011 incident with Nassar. She said Nassar gave her a sleeping pill on the flight to Japan, and she was ultimately the last person in the room after Nassar worked on other teammates. “I was bawling, naked on a bed, him on top of me, like fingering me,” she told NBC at the time, adding “I thought I was going to die.” In a statement provided to NBC News in April 2018, USAG “denie[d] any allegation that it had wide-ranging knowledge of abuse by Nassar or that it concealed or ignored his abuse.”
The retired gymnast said USAG punted responsibility by “point[ing] fingers” at the USOPC for the abuse that occurred since the USOPC manages international competitions and Team USA. However, Maroney said she “never spoke to anyone from the USOC” until she arrived in London for the 2012 Olympics. Maroney recounted in an Instagram Story on Aug. 1 that she broke her foot while practicing at the London Olympics, but that Nassar allegedly lied to USAG, telling them it was an “old break” and that Maroney was fine to compete. USAG and Nassar’s lawyer Jacqueline McCann did not immediately respond to Elite Daily’s request for comment on Maroney’s allegations.
She also added that the USOPC was “so hands off” that she wasn’t even aware the Karolyi gymnastics camp she trained at was managed by them (the camp is in fact managed by USA Gymnastics). “To me it felt more like a gym in the middle of a forest with limited food supply, and a doctor molesting me twice a day,” Maroney detailed.
Maroney not only endured harrowing abuse from Nassar, but a hostile environment while competing for Team USA. According to Maroney, after she recounted the 2011 Tokyo incident on car ride, which was reportedly overheard by USAG coach John Geddert, an older teammate reportedly told her to “shut the f*ck up” and never “say anything like that about Larry Nassar again.” Maroney said she took the cue and “suppressed it until it came up again in 2015.” USAG previously denied “wide-ranging knowledge of abuse by Nassar” prior to learning about it in the summer of 2015.
Maroney’s tweets serve as a reminder of what athletes face behind the scenes. Simone Biles — who Maroney praised for “protect[ing] her body and her mind”, per TMZ, following Biles’ exit from the team final at the 2021 Olympics on July 27 — famously told Hoda Kotb that her being a survivor of Nassar’s abuse was a big reason for her returning to compete in Tokyo. “I had to come back to the sport to be a voice, to have change happen,” Biles told Kotb on Today in April 2021. “I feel like if there weren't a remaining survivor in the sport, they would've just brushed it to the side.”
Biles is set to compete in the balance beam final on Tuesday, Aug. 3, and with supporters like Maroney sharing their stories, it’s clear the abuse from Nassar will not be “brushed to the side.”