Jezebel: Sexual abuse in the land of America’s sweethearts

Jezebel: Sexual abuse in the land of America’s sweethearts

I have a piece up at Jezebel today, about sexual abuse of gymnasts by their coaches. News recently broke that a former US Olympic coach had been accused of sexually abusing several of his former gymnasts. As a ex-gymnast myself, this hit home:

In the years after I quit gymnastics, I would tell people how lucky I had been to have the coaches I had. Unlike the coaches at other clubs, they didn’t yell at us. They didn’t bother us about our weight. They pushed us, but they never pushed us too far. They were great. At least, that was my experience. It wasn’t until several years after I quit that I discovered that during the very years that I had been having this great experience, some of my teammates were allegedly being sexually abused by one of our coaches.

It happened, apparently, right under our noses. I had no inkling until years later, when the police opened an investigation and one of my former teammates was called in for questioning. Like me, Sylvia*, who was one of top gymnasts in the club and in the country, had never witnessed any untoward behavior from our head coach. Like me, she had the utmost respect for him, looked up to him, and never imagined him capable of preying on the girls with whose care he had been entrusted. But as more and more of our teammates started coming forward, a different picture of him began to emerge.

You can read the rest of the story here.


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