Simone Biles, 24, is looking back on her struggles and triumphs in her gymnastics career in a new interview. The skilled athlete admitted she shouldn’t have continued on with the sport in the midst of the former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar‘s sexual abuse case because of the impact it had on her. “If you looked at everything I’ve gone through for the past seven years, I should have never made another Olympic team,” she told New York Magazine, referring to being a part of the U.S. women’s gymnastics team in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“I should have quit way before Tokyo [Olympics] when Larry Nassar was in the media for two years,” she added. “It was too much.”
“But I was not going to let him take something I’ve worked for since I was six-years-old,” she continued. “I wasn’t going to let him take that joy away from me. So I pushed past that for as long as my mind and my body would let me.”
Simone first revealed she was sexually abused by Nassar in a letter she shared on Twitter in 2018 and since then, she hasn’t been the same. “My perspective has never changed so quickly from wanting to be on a podium to wanting to be able to go home, by myself, without any crutches,” she explained.
Before her interview with New York magazine was published, Simone made headlines for breaking down into tears during a Senate committee hearing regarding the FBI’s handling of the sexual assault allegations against Nassar. She testified along with fellow gymnasts, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Maggie Nichols, and made a heartbreaking yet powerful statement.
“I don’t want another young gymnast, Olympic athlete, or any individual to experience the horror that I, and hundreds of others, have endured before, during and continuing to this day in the wake of the Larry Nassar abuse,” she said. “To be clear, I blame Larry Nassar, and I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetuated his abuse.”
She also went on to mention her previous accusations against USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, claiming both organizations knew bout Nassar’s abuse “long before [she] was ever made aware of their knowledge.”
Simone was one of several women who came forward with their own sexual abuse accusations against Nassar and in Nov. 2017, he pled guilty to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual misconduct with minors under the age of 16. In Jan. 2018, he was sentenced to 40-175 years in prison.