“I should have quit way before Tokyo, when Larry Nassar was in the media for two years. It was too much. But I was not going to let him take something I’ve worked for since I was six years old.
“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.”
Biles testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the FBI’s handling of sexual abuse claims against Nassar alongside three other gymnasts — McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols — all of whom were Nassar abuse survivors.
Allegations against the former USA Gymnastics doctor were first brought to the FBI in July 2015, but a Justice Department inspector general report stated that the agency “failed to respond to the Nassar allegations with the utmost seriousness and urgency that they deserved and required, made numerous and fundamental errors when they did respond to them, and violated multiple FBI policies.”
An emotional testimony from Biles saw the gymnast blame “an entire system that enabled and perpetuated his abuse.”
‘I woke up — lost it’
Biles shed light on the twisties phenomenon that led her to immediately withdraw from the team and four individual finals.
Inexplicably losing her bearings in the air, Biles revealed that her “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.”
“If I still had my air awareness, and I just was having a bad day, I would have continued. But it was more than that.
“Say up until you’re 30 years old, you have your complete eyesight. One morning, you wake up, you can’t see sh*t, but people tell you to go on and do your daily job as if you still have your eyesight,” Biles explained.
“You’d be lost, wouldn’t you? That’s the only thing I can relate it to. I have been doing gymnastics for 18 years. I woke up — lost it. How am I supposed to go on with my day?”
Her struggles were compounded by the passing of her aunt, who died “unexpectedly” while Biles was competing in Japan.
A testament to her resolve, despite all she endured Biles still managed to leave Tokyo with a flourish — taking her overall Olympic medal tally to seven with a bronze in the balance beam final.
“To bring the topic of mental health, I think it should be talked about a lot more, especially with athletes because I know some of us are going through the same things and we’re always told to push through it,” Biles told reporters following her third-place finish.
With tonight’s show in San Francisco, Biles leads an all-star team of athletes across 35 US cities to celebrate female sport and inspire a new generation of gymnasts.
“I love the sport of gymnastics and wanted to help create a show that celebrates the pure joy of performing,” said Biles, per the tour’s official website.
The final show is set to take place in Boston on November 7.
CNN’s Christina Carrega, Evan Perez and Devan Cole contributed to this report.
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