The father of three daughters who were sexually assaulted by Larry Nassar rushed the disgraced doctor during his sentencing.
USA TODAY Sports
Two more Olympic gymnasts — Madison Kocian and Kyla Ross — revealed that they too were abused by former Team USA doctor Larry Nassar.
Several months since Nassar was convicted on federal child pornography and state sexual abuse charges, the two gold medal winners realized their voices needed to be heard as an example that there’s no timetable on unearthing the trauma of sexual abuse.
“Everyone copes in their own way,” Ross, a member of the “Fierce Five” group that won the 2012 Olympic gold medal, told the Associated Press on Thursday. “It doesn’t matter how old you are and what happens to you. I’ve come to the point in my life (where) I want to share my story and move on.”
Both Kocian and Ross, now retired from USA Gymnastics, said they began to process their abuse in January when hundreds of victims — including their former teammates —read public statements to Nassar.
“I was in denial,” Ross said on CBS. “At 13, I thought it was a legitimate form of treatment. As years have gone on, after hearing impact statements, you realize what a terrible event has happened.”
Kocian, a member of 2016’s “Final Five” group that won an Olympic gold medal in Rio, placed blame on USA Gymnastics. She said “so many people knew about this and they went through the whole Olympic Games knowing and not doing anything. Even to this day I’ve heard nothing support wise from them.”
USA Gymnastics said in a statement released to news reporters it is “heartbroken” for Ross and Kocian, both of whom have filed civil lawsuits against Michigan State — where Nassar worked for decades — and plan to do the same against the United States Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics.
The two 21-year-olds, now competing at NCAA champion UCLA as collegiate gymnasts, also appeared on CBS This Morning on Thursday detailing the abuse and their decision to come forward now. UCLA gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field joined them on the TV segment and said the “unfathomable” abuse came as a result of a “culture of fear” and “putting medals above people.”
Ross said that former teammate and current Bruins assistant coach Jordyn Wieber helped her “be confident in myself and realize I was a victim.”
“But we don’t want to be viewed as victims,” she said. “This is something we have to grow through. Now we’re just trying to find our voice and help.”
With Kocian and Ross coming forward, every member of 2012’s “Fierce Five” — Ross, Wieber, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney — has gone public claiming abuse at the hands of Nassar. And all but one member 2016’s “Final Five” group has come forward.
“If we were to speak up (against the abuse when it happened), we wouldn’t have been in consideration for making (the Olympic national team). We didn’t have a voice,” Kocian said.
“As an athlete, we should have a voice.”