Kyla Ross, a member of the 2012 Olympic “Fierce Five” team, and Madison Kocian, a member of the 2016 Olympic team, spoke exclusive in an interview to CBS regarding the sexual abuse endured by USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar.
Nassar now serves three concurrent prison sentences of up to 175 years.
“Being on national team for all those years, we were really silenced. We didn’t really have a voice and say as athletes,” Ross said.
Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State team doctor, has been accused of sexual abuse under the guise of medical treatment by hundreds of athletes.
Kocian, who competed alongside fellow Nassar survivors Aly Raisman and Simone Biles at the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, said Nassar was “almost like a family member” to many of the athletes.
“He would, on international trips, he would bring us food or he would just kind of be the person that would always ask, ‘How are you doing?’” Kocian said. “Because the culture that was at the Karolyi Ranch was a culture of fear, a culture of silence. And that’s what led him to be able to abuse us.”
Elite gymnastics training center in Texas, Karolyi Ranch, has come under fire for verbal and emotionally abusive tactics.
In early 2018, USA Gymnastics dissolved connections with the ranch, run by Martha and Bela Karolyi, amid allegations that Nassar sexually abused athletes there. Both Ross and Kocian said they are disappointed in the way USA Gymnastics has handled the allegations against Nassar.
“It’s been saddening to know that a lot of gymnastics have gone through this event and [USA Gymnastics has] not reached out to see how we’re doing as people, not just as athletes, but as individuals who grew up in this sport,” Ross said.
USA Gymnastics responded in a statement to the news show.
“USA Gymnastics’ support is unwavering for Kyla, Madison and all athletes who courageously came forward to share their experiences,” the organization said. “Their powerful voices and stories will continue to be a basis for our future decisions.”