Maggie Nichols is the latest gymnast to come forward with allegations of sexual abuse against former U.S. gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. Here’s 5 things to know about her.
1. Maggie, or “Swags” is an American gymnast from Little Canada, Missouri. — Maggie, a big Pretty Little Liars fans, began gymnastics in 2000. Fast forward — She won three bronze medals at the 2014 National Championships: all-around, uneven bars and floor exercise. She remained a solid contender in 2015 by claiming all-around silver, besting 2012 Olympians Gabby Douglas, 22, Aly Raisman, 23, and Kyla Ross, 21. Maggie eventually helped take her team to the top at the 2015 World Gymnastics Championships and placed second in the all-around, after fellow U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas, at the AT&T American Cup in early 2016.
2. She’s a sophomore at the University of Oklahoma. — Maggie, now a sophomore [who committed to the school on a full athletic scholarship] has made a name for herself as a Sooners gymnast. In her freshman year alone, she’s won winning 45 event titles and scored seven perfect 10s. Despite being talented in all four event, Maggie’s specialty is bars, which she mastered to help her Oklahoma collegiate team take the NCAA title in 2016. Maggie is actually one of only nine NCAA gymnasts to have scored a perfect 10 on all four events, and the first to do so for Oklahoma. Some of her career highlights include [via USA Gymnastics]:
- 2017 NCAA team & uneven bars champion (Oklahoma)
- 2016 American Cup silver medalist
- 2015 World team champion and floor exercise bronze medalist
- 2015 U.S. all-around silver medalist
- 2014 U.S. all-around, uneven bars and floor exercise bronze medalist
3. Maggie was an elite gymnast, who nearly had a spot on the 2016 Olympic team. — She was vying for a spot on the team — which ultimately came down to Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Laurie Hernandez, 17, and Madison Kocian, 20, who defended the USA’s gold medal title in the the team all-around — before a knee injury derailed Maggie’s hopes of joining the gymnasts. Maggie announced her retirement from elite gymnastics on July 13, 2016.
4. She is best friends with fellow gymnast, 2016 Olympic individual all-around, vault and floor gold medalist, Simone Biles — Maggie and Simone go back many years, having photos from 2013 documented on their Instagram pages. They’ve attended gymnastics camps together and were once teammates.
5. Here’s why she’s making headlines. — On January 9, 2018, Maggie came forward with the following statement against former U.S. gymnastics doctor, Larry Nassar released by her attorney:
“Recently, three of my friends and former National Team members who medaled at the 2012 Olympics have bravely stepped forward to proclaim they were sexually assaulted by USA Gymnastics Team Physician Dr. Larry Nassar.
Today I join them.
I am making the decision to tell my traumatic story and hope to join forces with my friends and teammates to bring about true change.
When I was 15 I started to have back problems while at a National Team Camp at the Karolyi Ranch. My back was really hurting me, I couldn’t even really bend down, and I remember he took me into the training room, closed the door and closed the blinds. At the time I thought this was kind of weird but figured it must be okay. I thought he probably didn’t want to distract the other girls and I trusted him.
I trusted what he was doing at first, but then he started touching me in places I really didn’t think he should. He didn’t have gloves on and he didn’t tell me what he was doing. There was no one else in the room and I accepted what he was doing because I was told by adults that he was the best doctor and he could help relieve my pain.”
In December, Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in prison on federal child pornography charges, and pleaded guilty to 10 charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with young girls, including one who was under age 13, in Michigan state courts.
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