“[H]ow about you amaze me and do the right thing … have an independent investigation,” she fired back. USAG actually tagged the wrong Twitter account in its post, but it still made its way to Biles, a survivor of Nassar’s abuse, and she wasn’t about to exchange pleasantries.
Biles is among several high-profile gymnasts, including former gold medal-winning teammate Aly Raisman, who have kept up pressure on USAG to reveal details on what executives in the organization knew about allegations against Nassar. The disgraced former USAG and Michigan State team doctor, 56, is effectively serving a life sentence in prison after being convicted in federal and state courts on charges related to child pornography and decades of sexual abuse.
After an 18-month inquiry, a congressional subcommittee concluded that the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) and USAG “knowingly concealed abuse by Larry Nassar, leading to the abuse of dozens of additional amateur athletes from summer 2015 to September 2016.”
Faced with hundreds of lawsuits over its inability to protect girls in its care, USAG made a proposal last month that involved settling legal actions for a total of $215 million. The proposal would also release the USOPC, former USAG CEO Steve Penny and former national team directors Bela and Martha Karolyi from further liability.
In a late-February response, Biles wrote on Twitter, “Ugh at the airport. Heading to team camp. Still want answers from USAG and USOPC. Wish they BOTH wanted an independent investigation as much as the survivors & I do. … And don’t THEY also want to know HOW everything was allowed to happen and WHO let it happen so it NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN? Shouldn’t people be held accountable?”
“The problem is USAG & USOC don’t want anyone to know. This is a massive cover up,” Raisman replied at the time. “The only way for anyone to know what really happened is if someone forces them to release ALL documents & data to investigate. HOW CAN WE MAKE THIS HAPPEN?”
Also replying to Biles last month was Rachael Denhollander, a former gymnast who was the first to publicly accuse Nassar in 2016, sparking a flood of similar accusations including from athletes in other sports and non-athletes who were abused while in his care. On Saturday, Denhollander again offered words of support for the 30-time Olympic and World Championship medalist, tweeting, “So many reasons you are the GOAT. Strength in 100 different ways.”
Former Olympic swimmer Nancy Hogshead-Makar, now the head of an organization that advocates for athletes who have been abused and unfairly treated, told Biles on Twitter Saturday, “And don’t forget to tell @USAGym to make the results PUBLIC.”
“We have fully cooperated with all investigative bodies, including by producing information that they have requested,” USAG said in a statement last month. It added, “We are deeply committed to learning from these investigations, and finding ways to prevent abuse in the future. At the same time, we must respect the confidentiality and integrity of the mediation and SafeSport processes. We would welcome the opportunity to continue mediation and discussing how to best resolve the survivors’ claims.”
Biles is training for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, and is assured of a spot on the U.S. team. What seems equally likely at the Games is that, if she doesn’t see progress by then on the demands she and others have made from USAG, she won’t be any less reticent in her criticism of the organization.