Biles, widely considered the greatest gymnast to ever take the floor, did not hold back in criticizing both organizations for not being more transparent about who knew what, while Nassar sexually abused more than 265 girls from 1992 to 2015, according to a Michigan court in 2018.
When 60 Minutes host Sharyn Alfonsi asked Biles about the scandal, she said neither organization did enough to ensure that girls were protected or to revolve the issue entirely.
“It’s far from over. There’s still a lot of questions that still need to be answered. Who knew what, when? You guys have failed so many athletes. And most of us underage. You guys don’t think that’s a bigger problem? Like, if that were me and I knew something I’d want it resolved immediately,” Biles said.
“We bring them medals. We do our part. You can’t do your part in return? It’s just, like, it’s sickening,” she added.
Alfonsi asked whether Biles would allow her own daughter to participate in the sport, and she responded forcefully.
“No. Because I don’t feel comfortable enough, because they haven’t taken accountability for their actions and what they’ve done. And they haven’t ensured us that it’s never going to happen again,” Biles said.
As the USA Gymnastics national team doctor, Nassar spent decades abusing hundreds of girls and young women, while pretending to perform medical exams, and the FBI found more than 37,000 child pornography pictures as well as a video of him molesting underage girls, according to Time magazine.
Dozens of women and girls said he molested them at the USA Gymnastics National Team Training Center, which was run by famed gymnastics coaches Martha and Bela Karolyi. Biles herself released a statement on Twitter announcing that she was also abused by Nassar as a young girl.
“We need to know why this was able to take place for so long and to so many of us. We need to make sure something like this never happens again,” she said in 2018.
— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) January 15, 2018
But many of those abused by Nassar said they reported him decades before he was fired and arrested, but their complaints were either ignored or suppressed, according to CNN.
McKayla Maroney, a 2012 Olympics medalist who was on the team with Biles, filed her own lawsuit claiming USA Gymnastics paid her not to speak out about the abuse she experienced by Nassar when she was 13 years old. Maroney named both the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics in the lawsuit.
U.S. Olympic Committee Chief Executive Scott Blackmun demanded the resignations from the USA Gymnastics board and called for an independent investigation into Nassar’s actions in 2018 in an open letter.
In statements given to 60 Minutes, both Sarah Hirshland, CEO of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, and Li Li Leung, president and CEO of USA Gymnastics, apologized to Biles and said the organizations were undergoing reforms.
“In 2018 the USOPC board commissioned the law firm Ropes & Gray to conduct a fully independent and exhaustive investigation. As we committed to at the outset, we published the 233-page report of this investigation publicly, immediately, and in full,” Hirshland said in a statement.
“That report led to significant reforms to prevent such reprehensible acts from ever occurring again. In addition to the 2017 creation of the U.S Center for SafeSport, a safe and confidential place to report abuse and other misconduct, the USOPC announced in 2019 the most sweeping governance reforms in nearly two decades, underscoring a commitment to an athlete-centric culture, athlete representation, and athlete safety,” she added.
Leung acknowledged that the organization had “broken the trust of our athletes and community,” adding the organization was “working hard to build that trust back.”
“Everything we do now is aimed at creating a safe, inclusive, and positive culture for everyone who participates in our sport. And while we know that this kind of meaningful and lasting culture change does not happen overnight, we will keep working toward that goal until every member feels supported, included, safe and empowered,” Leung said.
Biles is set to take part in her final Olympic trials this year, depending on whether Japan decides to go through with the event this summer. She has not lost an event in eight years and owns the most Olympic and World Championship gold medals combined of any gymnast in history, as Blavity previously reported.