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

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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.

Katie Ledecky wins race by 30 seconds, takes back No. 1 ranking

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In her last race of the year, Katie Ledecky ensured she would finish 2019 as the world’s fastest 1500m freestyler.

Ledecky clocked 15:35.98 at the U.S. Open in Atlanta, winning the longest event on the Olympic pool program by 29.97 seconds. Typical for Ledecky, who owns the nine fastest times in history. This one came in at No. 8. Full meet results are here.

Ledecky scratched the 1500m free final at the summer world championships due to illness. Italian Simona Quadarella went on to win that title in 15:40.89, which was the world’s fastest time this year until Saturday night.

“I didn’t have time on my mind at all today. I just wanted to have a consistent swim,” Ledecky, undefeated in 1500m free finals for nine years, said on NBCSN. “That’s probably the best mile that I’ve had in a while.”

The women’s 1500m freestyle debuts at the Olympics in Tokyo. Ledecky is expected to add that to her Rio Olympic individual lineup of 200m, 400m and 800m frees, assuming she is top two in each event at the June Olympic trials.

In other events Saturday, Erika Brown handed Simone Manuel a rare defeat in the 100m freestyle. Brown, a University of Tennessee senior, clocked 53.42 and lowered her personal best by .71 between prelims and the final. Brown moved from sixth to fourth in the U.S. rankings this year, upping her stock as a contender to make the Olympic 4x100m free relay pool via a top-six finish at trials.

Brown previously lowered her personal best in the 50m free on Thursday. She ranks third in the U.S. this year in that event.

Emily Escobedo dealt Lilly King a rare domestic defeat in the 200m breaststroke. Escobedo lowered her personal best by .87 and clocked 2:22.00, moving to seventh fastest in the world this year and remaining fourth among Americans.

In the men’s 200m breast, Olympic champion Dmitriy Balandin of Kazakhstan was beaten by Cody Miller, the Olympic 100m breast silver medalist. Both were slower than their best times this year.

The next significant swim meet is a Tyr Pro Series stop in Knoxville, Tenn., from Jan. 16-19.

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Mikaela Shiffrin runner-up in Lake Louise downhill

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LAKE LOUISE, Alberta (AP) — Here’s a scary thought for her competition: Mikaela Shiffrin is still getting comfortable with the intensity and the speed of the downhill.

That’s why podium finishes are still a little surprising even to her.

The American three-time overall World Cup champion finished runner-up to Nicole Schmidhofer of Austria in a downhill race Saturday. Schmidhofer cruised through the course in 1 minute, 49.92 seconds to edge Shiffrin by 0.13 seconds. Francesca Marsaglia of Italy wound up third.

Schmidhofer has four career World Cup wins, with three of them arriving at Lake Louise.

Known as a tech specialist, Shiffrin is steadily getting up to speed in the speed events. This was Shiffrin’s fourth career World Cup podium finish in the downhill, which includes a Lake Louise win in 2017.

So, does Shiffrin anticipate this kind of downhill success?

“No, no, no,” the 24-year-old from Colorado said. “It’s certainly not normal (for a downhill podium). Even racing downhill doesn’t feel normal. But I feel every year like I have more experience and get more comfortable.”

Shiffrin currently sits at 62 World Cup wins, which ties her with Austrian great Annemarie Moser-Proell for second-most on the women’s side. Lindsey Vonn had 82 wins before her retirement.

“I’m certainly more comfortable with the long skis,” Shiffrin said of downhill racing. “Right now, it’s enjoying it, because speed is a little bit extra for me. My goal is to be able to succeed in speed as well. It’s making the transition and trying to have fun with it.”

Czech Republic skier and snowboarder Ester Ledecka finished fourth Saturday. She was the surprise winner of Friday’s season-opening downhill, which was delayed and shortened by heavy snowfall on the mountain. The race Saturday was restored to its full length.

Next up, a super-G on Sunday.

“It’s always been a little bit tricky for me from downhill skis to super-G skis and to change the timing a little bit,” Shiffrin said. “I’m going to have fun.”

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