On the night that Olympic gymnast Jordyn Wieber received a BlogHer Health Courage Award we spoke to her about being a voice for sexual abuse victims. She also told us exactly what she thinks about her friend Aly Raisman’s ex, Colton Underwood.
Don’t expect Jordyn Wieber, 23, to be spending her Monday nights watching Colton Underwood on The Bachelor. The Olympic gold medalist is no fan of the show, even though the 27-year-old star looking for love is the ex of her former U.S. women’s gymnastics teammate Aly Raisman, 23. That’s what Jordyn told HollywoodLife exclusively when we spoke to her at the BlogHer Health event in Los Angeles on Jan. 24. “We haven’t really talked about it, but I have met Colton,” she told us. “He’s a really nice guy.” But, she also added, “I’m not a huge Bachelor fan, unfortunately. It’s exciting for him.”
Jordyn was at The BlogHer Health Summit to collect the Courage Award for her activism and determination to make sure that gymnastics is safe for young women and girls. Born in DeWitt, Michigan, she shot to superstardom in 2012 when she brought the Olympic gold medal home and became a household name, along with the rest of her teammates, who quickly became media darlings. The “Fierce Five” – as they became known in the press – included Gabby Douglas, 23, McKayla Maroney, 23, Kyla Ross, 22, and Aly Raisman, 24.
But the dream image the Fierce Five portrayed was hiding a nightmare. One-by-one in 2017 and 2018 the women revealed that they were among the more than 150 female athletes who were the victims of Dr. Larry Nassar. In January 2018, the former U.S.A. Gymnastics and Michigan State University physician was sentenced to up to 175 years behind bars for sexually abusing female athletes that he treated over decades. Jordyn was one of the many women who bravely spoke up and testified at his sentence hearing in a Michigan court that month. In April that year she went to Washington D.C. to tell a U.S. Senate subcommittee that was investigating the scandal how the abuse began when she was just 14.
“At first I was really hesitant to speak out because it was very personal and very intimate,” Jordyn told HollywoodLife when we asked why she decided to come forward. “I just felt this really strong responsibility to make this sport safer for them.” (The “them” she is referring to are other young female gymnasts.) Jordyn also added, “I’ve been trying to do a lot of advocacy for child sexual abuse and trying to figure out any way I can help that cause and change the culture of abuse in gymnastics.”
Jordyn retired from the sport in 2015 but she’s still involved in molding the next generation of stars. “It’s been busy,” she told HollywoodLife. “A lot of people know ever since I retired from gymnastics a few years ago I’ve been at UCLA coaching. I can’t leave the sport of gymnastics. It’s in my blood.”
As for the other members of the Fierce Five, does Jordyn still talk to them? “Kyla Ross, I actually coach her,” she said. “She’s in school at UCLA right now. It was really interesting going from being her teammate to being her coach, but it’s actually a blast. It’s so fun and we work really well together.” Jordyn is also still in touch with McKayla, Gabby and Aly. “Doing something like competing at the Olympics together and winning a gold metal together, it’s once in a lifetime, and to be able to share that with those girls,” she said, “I wouldn’t have a gold metal if it wasn’t for them, because we got the team gold metal. I just appreciate them…” She added, “[We] always have this bond between us.”
We think it’s so incredibly brave of Jordyn to have come forward and be such a positive role model for females everywhere!