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Olympic gymnastics champion Wieber reveals Nassar abuse in court

2 min

Chicago (AFP)

Gold-medal winning Olympian Jordyn Wieber on Friday publicly revealed that she had been sexually abused by ex-USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar at his sentencing hearing, becoming the latest star athlete to identify herself as a victim.

The member of the "Fierce Five" 2012 Summer Olympics squad joined teammates Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney, who have all said Nassar molested them in the guise of medical treatment.

A noticeably nervous Wieber, accompanied by Raisman, told a Michigan court that Nassar first molested her when she was 14 years old. He is facing life in prison after pleading guilty to multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct.

"I thought that training for the Olympics would be the hardest thing that I would ever have to do. But, in fact, the hardest thing I ever had to do is process that I am a victim of Larry Nassar," said Wieber, who is now 22.

She added that Nassar had unfettered access to gymnasts -- he was the only male allowed at the national team training camp in Texas and was sometimes left unaccompanied in their hotel rooms.

But the athletes did not question the abuse, she said, because of his stellar reputation in the gymnastics world as a "miracle worker."

"I even talked to my teammates Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney about this treatment, and how uncomfortable it made us feel. None of us really understood it," she said.

"USA Gymnastics is accountable. The US Olympic Committee is accountable," Wieber added, echoing calls by other victims and athletes for more accountability.

Nassar has pleaded guilty to 10 criminal counts in Michigan, but the judge has offered dozens of women the chance to confront him face-to-face as they deliver victim impact statements.

Fellow Olympians Simone Biles, the reigning all-around champion from the Rio Games in 2016, and Jamie Dantzscher, who competed in Sydney in 2000 and took home a bronze medal, have also revealed that they were abused.

More than 100 victims have come forward, including Nassar's onetime family babysitter and athletes in several women's sports programs at Michigan State University, where he worked.

Nassar already faces 60 years in prison after also pleading guilty to child pornography charges.

It was not clear if the sentencing hearing for the abuse charges would wrap up on Friday or continue into Monday.

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