In her 2016 book “Courage to Soar,” Simone Biles chronicled a life spent in early childhood in foster care to winning four gold medals at the Olympic Games and being considered by many as the greatest women’s gymnast in history.
The title of Biles’ story took on new meaning Monday.
Biles, in a statement posted on social media Monday, acknowledged publicly for the first time that she was also sexually assaulted by former U.S. Olympic and USA Gymnastics national team physician Larry Nassar.
“Most of you know me as a happy, giggly and energetic girl. But lately … I’ve felt a bit broken and the more I try to shut off the voice in my head the louder it screams,” Biles wrote in the statement. “I am not afraid to tell my story anymore.
“I too am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar.”
“Please believe when I say it was a lot harder to speak those words out loud than it is now to put them on paper. There are many reasons that I have been reluctant to share my story, but I know now it is not my fault.”
Biles’ statement comes a day before a week-long sentencing hearing begins in Ingham County, Mich., where Nassar, 54, has pled guilty to sexually assaulting seven girls. The judge in the case ruled that Nassar’s other accusers can testify at the hearing with more than 50 women expected to read statements this week.
Biles is the latest in a series of American Olympic champions to confirm they were sexually abused by Nassar.
McKayla Maroney, Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman, members of the record-setting 2012 Olympic champion team known as the “Fierce Five,” all said in recent months that they were sexually assaulted by Nassar while they represented Team USA at the Olympic Games and World Championships and other major international competitions. Jamie Dantzscher, an Olympic medalist, told the Southern California News Group last summer that she and some of her U.S. teammates were abused on an almost daily basis at the…