Aly Raisman in new book: ‘Horrible memories’ with Larry Nassar

Aly Raisman
TODAY
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Aly Raisman said her interactions with then-USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar were “horrible memories” in her autobiography to be published Tuesday.

In a “60 Minutes” interview segment published Friday, Raisman first said publicly that she was sexually abused by Nassar, who has been sued by more than 125 women alleging abuse. Nassar pled not guilty to the assault charges.

Nassar, who is in jail awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to child pornography charges, and his lawyers have declined comment.

Two other Olympians, 2000 Olympic bronze medalist Jamie Dantzscher and Raisman’s 2012 Olympic teammate McKayla Maroney, also said they were sexually abused by Nassar while with the U.S. national team.

Raisman, 23, said Nassar first treated her when she was 15, though she was at first in denial that it was sexual abuse.

“I always thought he was weird, but I just thought he was weird,” Raisman said on TODAY on Monday. “I want people to know that I really didn’t know what was happening to me. He was a doctor, and he told me that his treatment would help heal all of my injuries. I was so young. I had never really worked with another doctor or trainer before. Everyone said he was the best.”

In her book, “Fierce,” Raisman said she would not get into specifics of what she called Nassar’s abuse, writing “that information is private,” as first reported by the Boston Globe and confirmed by NBC Sports.

“We had been so manipulated. It had all been intentional,” Raisman wrote. “He had taken advantage of me … I wanted to throw up. Realizing you’ve been a victim of sexual abuse is a horrible, sickening feelings.”

Raisman wrote that when she was 15 and in Australia for a competition, a national team staff member noticed her wincing during practice. Raisman said she just wanted to sleep, but the staffer insisted that she see Nassar, calling it “a huge honor” to work with “the best there is.”

Raisman relented because she didn’t want to be labeled as uncooperative. Nassar gave her a massage in her hotel room while she wore leggings and with two other people in the room.

“There was something about the massage that made me uncomfortable, but the staff member’s words stuck in my head,” Raisman wrote.

Raisman wrote that during her years on the national team, “treatment sessions” with Nassar “always made me feel tense and uncomfortable.”

“It was different with Larry,” she wrote. “I would lie on the table, my hands involuntarily balling themselves into fists as his ungloved hands worked their way under my clothing.”

Raisman wrote that Nassar comforted female gymnasts by bringing them candy. He gave her gifts and said how well she performed in training sessions.

“Most of us thought the way he touched us was weird,” she wrote. “But he did it to so many of us that we assumed, blindly, that he must know something we didn’t.”

In July 2015, Raisman wrote that she met with an investigator, urged by then-USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny to agree to the interview. Raisman didn’t know the subject matter before the investigator arrived.

“I hope this isn’t about Larry Nassar,” Raisman wrote. “But I dismissed the thought. I trusted him, because he was nice to me, and because he had tons of awards. … The whispers couldn’t be true.”

Raisman was asked about Nassar but said she made excuses for him. She was laser focused on trying to make the Olympic team the following year.

“I was terrified that the media would find out, and bring it up at every turn, before I was ready to talk about it, before I had even begun to process it myself,” she wrote. “ … I was overwhelmed with emotion.”

After talking to her mom, Raisman called a USA Gymnastics official to talk about what she would have told the investigator if she was not in shock. She was later told that she “needed to stop speaking about Larry” due to a process in place that would protect her and others.

USA Gymnastics said in September 2016 that it relieved Nassar of his duties in summer 2015, “immediately after learning of athlete concerns.”

Raisman originally planned to keep this part of her story private. She changed her mind and included it in the book to help others.

“If a sexual predator is committing assault, the unfortunate reality is that it might not be their first time, and probably isn’t their last,” she wrote. “That makes it even more scary, realizing it can happen to anyone. I know that now, because it happened to me.”

USA Gymnastics posted a statement after the “60 Minutes” interview aired Sunday.

“We are appalled by the conduct of which Larry Nassar is accused, and we are very sorry that any athlete has been harmed during her or his gymnastics career,” it read. “Aly’s passion and concern for athlete safety is shared by USA Gymnastics. Our athletes are our priority, and we are committed to promoting an environment of empowerment that encourages speaking up, especially on difficult topics like abuse, as well the protection of athletes at all levels throughout our gymnastics community.

“USA Gymnastics regrets if Aly felt any constraints in sharing her full experiences with the independent investigator or at any time, as USA Gymnastics did seek Aly’s input in this matter,” USA Gymnastics said in another statement, according to TODAY.

Raisman said she does not believe USA Gymnastics is doing everything that it can.

“This is just the beginning. I’m just getting started,” Raisman said on TODAY. “I’m not going to stop until I get what I want, which is change.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ironman Kona World Championships return for first time in three years, live on Peacock

Ironman Kona World Championship
Ironman
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The Ironman Kona World Championships return after a three-year hiatus with a new format, live on Peacock on Thursday and Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.

The Ironman, held annually in Hawaii since 1978, and in Kailua-Kona since 1981, was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world championships made a one-time-only stop in St. George, Utah, on May 7 to make up for the 2021 cancellation. The winners were Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, the Tokyo Olympic triathlon champion, and Swiss Daniela Ryf, who bagged her fifth Ironman world title.

Both are entered in Kailua-Kona, where the races are now split between two days — Thursday for the women and Saturday for the men.

An Ironman includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon — totaling 140.6 miles of racing. It takes top triathletes eight hours to complete. Very arguably, it crowns the world’s fittest man and woman.

WATCH LIVE: Ironman Kona, Thursday, 12 p.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Ryf, 35 and a 2008 and 2012 Olympian, can tie retired countrywoman Natascha Badmann for second place on the women’s list at six Ironman world titles. Only Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser has more with eight.

The field also includes German Anne Haug, the 2019 Kona champ and only woman other than Ryf to win since 2015. Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay, the Kona runner-up in 2017, 2018 and 2019, returns after missing the St. George event due to a stress fracture in her hip.

Blummenfelt, 28 and in his Kona debut, will try to become the youngest male champion in Kona since German Normann Stadler in 2005. His top challengers include countryman Gustav Iden, the two-time reigning Half Ironman world champion, and German Patrick Lange, the 2017 and 2018 Ironman Kona winner.

Also racing Saturday is Dallas Clark, a retired All-Pro NFL tight end with the Indianapolis Colts, and Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion who completed the 2011 Kona Ironman in 12 hours, 52 minutes, 40 seconds.

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Joan Benoit Samuelson, Olympic marathon champ in 1984, runs London Marathon at 65

Joan Benoit Samuelson
Getty
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Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first Olympic women’s marathon champion in 1984, ran her first 26.2-mile race in three years at Sunday’s London Marathon and won her age group.

Benoit Samuelson, 65, clocked 3 hours, 20 minutes, 20 seconds to top the women’s 65-69 age group by 7 minutes, 52 seconds. She took pleasure in being joined in the race by daughter Abby, who crossed in 2:58:19.

“She may have beaten me with my replacement knee, but everybody said I wouldn’t do it! I will never say never,” Benoit Samuelson said, according to race organizers. “I am a grandmother now to Charlotte, and it’s my goal to run 5K with her.”

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Benoit Samuelson raced the 1987 Boston Marathon while three months pregnant with Abby. Before that, she won the first Olympic women’s marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, plus the Boston Marathon in 1979 and 1983 and the Chicago Marathon in 1985.

Her personal best — 2:21:21 — still holds up. She ranks sixth in U.S. women’s history.

Benoit Samuelson plans to race the Tokyo Marathon to complete her set of doing all six annual World Marathon Majors. The others are Berlin, Boston, Chicago and New York City.

“I’m happy to finish this race and make it to Tokyo, but I did it today on a wing and a prayer,” she said, according to organizers. “I’m blessed to have longevity in this sport. It doesn’t owe me anything, but I feel I owe my sport.”

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