Shawn Johnson "Disgusted" With USA Gymnastics, Says It "Failed" to Protect Young Athletes

Olympian posted a YouTube video addressing organization and Larry Nassar

By Jess Cohen Jan 23, 2018 7:36 PMTags

Shawn Johnson is addressing USA Gymnastics and former team doctor Larry Nassar in a YouTube video entitled "i am disgusted."

The U.S. Olympian begins the video by telling viewers, "Today I want to address everything surrounding USA Gymnastics and Larry Nassar. I know this goes outside of the sport of gymnastics into every person and family involved, some of which are my very close friends and girls that I look up to. Know I'm praying for you, I love you, you have experienced some of the worst evil in the world, and to know you guys have a voice and you're standing up for so many people - just know, you are my heroes."

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"Knowing that USA Gymnastics has failed their athletes so terribly, disappoints me and makes me so incredibly angry," she continues. "I think the fact that any of this has ever happened shows that USA Gymnastics has failed as a governing body to protect the athletes that it supports and claims to care about. I don't know. This video is so hard for me to make. We've tried to shoot this countless times and I have ended up in tears, I've been angry, I've been confused. Just because there are so many words and so many experiences that I have gone through."

Johnson then tears up as she tries to continue, "I love these girls so - sorry, I'm getting really emotional. I love these girls so much, and the fact that a system that is supposed to protect children has failed them so bad, it's so wrong. And to see the videos of Aly and Jordyn - these girls that I grew up with and love so much - have to face this man, a man that has violated them in the worst way possible is just disgusting. And I think if you want to gain the trust of the world, if you want to gain the trust from coaches and from parents and make little girls feel comfortable again - you need to change the system completely. "

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"I think USA Gymnastics for a very, very long time has focused on nothing but winning gold medals that they have overlooked the simple and most important fact that the people they are dealing with are minors and are children. And do not have the capabilities to stand up for themselves or speak for themselves," Johnson continues. "And when these little girls have devoted their entire lives to one dream, and they feel scared to voice something that has gone wrong, because they feel like that dream could be compromised - is disgusting."


Johnson went on to say, "I think as it pertains to USA Gymnastics, every single procedure, rule, guideline, rule book you've ever made needs to be thrown out the window and re-done. I think gymnastics is the best sport in the entire world, but if I had a daughter right now, I wouldn't put her in it. And that makes me really sad because I can't even trust USA Gymnastics. I've talked to other athletes and gymnasts that are a part of USA Gymnastics who have daughters, and it's just like...the organization that I have trusted my entire life has failed miserably."

Johnson's video was posted Monday, following a statement issued by United States Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun. "Since October of last year, we have been engaged in discussions with leadership of USA Gymnastics about the primary recommendation of the Daniels Report—changing the culture of USA Gymnastics," the statement began. "Those discussions accelerated over the holidays and today you have seen three board resignations. New board leadership is necessary because the current leaders have been focused on establishing that they did nothing wrong. USA Gymnastics needs to focus on supporting the brave survivors. The Olympic family failed these athletes and we must continue to take every step necessary to ensure this never happens again."

Olympian Aly Raisman posted a response to the statement on Twitter Monday.

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Raisman wrote, "For the past week, survivors came forward to courageously face a perpetrator of evil and share their painful stories. Many of them, myself included, claim the USOC is also at fault. Was the USOC  there to 'focus on supporting the brave survivors'? No. Did they issue a statement then? Crickets…Over the weekend, the USOC released a statement shamelessly taking credit for a few USAG resignations (note: not fired), as though they're addressing this problem. But they are still not acknowledging its role in this mess. ZERO accountability. It's like none of us were ever abused!"

These statements are being issued as Nassar, who has been accused of sexually abusing over 100 people, awaits sentencing in a Michigan courtroom.

Last Friday, Jan. 19, Raisman appeared in court and delivered a powerful victim-impact statement directed right to Nassar.

"Imagine feeling like you have no power and no voice," Raisman said in her statement. "Well you know what, Larry? I have both power and voice and I am only beginning to just use them. All these brave women have power and we will use our voices to make sure you get what you deserve, a life of suffering spent replaying the words delivered by this powerful army of survivors."

That same day, Olympian Jordyn Wieber also appeared in court, sharing that Nassar had sexually abused her. A day earlier, McKayla Maroney's victim-impact statement was read in court.