McKayla Maroney was repeatedly sexually abused by a USA Gymnastics team doctor beginning when she was 13 years old, the 2012 Olympic medalist revealed Wednesday.
Maroney, now 21, shared her experience on social media amid an outpouring of harrowing stories from women in all professions in response to the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse scandal.
"People should know that this is not just happening in Hollywood. This is happening everywhere," Maroney wrote in a letter posted on her Twitter account. "Wherever there is a position of power, there seems to be potential for abuse. I had a dream to go to the Olympics, and the things that I had to endure to get there, were unnecessary, and disgusting."
Maroney described repeated abuse by Dr. Larry Nassar, the longtime physician for the U.S. women's gymnastics team, that she said began when she was 13 at a training camp in Texas and "didn't end until I left the sport." Maroney officially announced her retirement from gymnastics at age 20 in February 2016, nearly four years after winning the team gold meal and individual silver in vault at the London Olympics.
"It seemed whenever and wherever this man could find the chance, I was 'treated,'" Maroney wrote. "It happened in London before my team and I won the gold medal, and it happened before I won my silver.
"For me, the scariest night of my life happened when I was 15 years old. I had flown all day and night with the team to get to Tokyo. He'd given me a sleeping pill for the flight, and the next thing I know, I was all alone with him in his hotel room getting a 'treatment.' I thought I was going to die that night."
Nassar, who also worked in a similar capacity for the Michigan State athletic department, faces similar accusations from dozens of gymnasts. The 54-year-old pleaded guilty to federal child pornography charges in July and is scheduled to be sentenced in December. He is scheduled to stand trial on multiple criminal sexual conduct charges in Michigan beginning later this year. Nassar, USA Gymnastics and Michigan State also are facing federal lawsuits from more than 100 women who say Nassar abused them.
Maroney noted how difficult it was for her to share her story, but said she felt she had to do her part to try and affect change.
"Is it possible to put an end to this type of abuse? Is it possible for survivors to speak out, without putting careers and dreams in jeopardy? I hope so," she wrote. "Our silence has given the wrong people power for too long, and it's time to take our power back."
Read Maroney's entire letter below: