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Aly Raisman wanted to read this letter in front of Larry Nassar

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Titled “This is Survival,” Aly Raisman shared a testimony letter that she wrote to a judge before Larry Nassar was sentenced Thursday to 60 years in prison.

The full victim impact statement on The Players’ Tribune is here.

“Some days I feel happy and protected for sharing my story,” Raisman wrote. “Other days I have bad anxiety and either feel traumatized from Larry Nassar’s abuse or I fear something else will happen in the future.”

Raisman, captain of the last two U.S. Olympic champion gymnastics teams, first publicly said last month that she was sexually abused by Nassar when Nassar was a USA Gymnastics team doctor.

Raisman said that after Nassar pleaded guilty to federal child pornography charges in July, she was told that she could submit a statement for sentencing consideration and that she could read it in court in front of Nassar.

“After some internal back and forth, I decided I wanted to go to the sentencing and read the letter,” Raisman wrote. “I wanted to be present to not only show him I was strong, but also to explain how his abuse still impacts me today. … I needed to mentally prepare myself for speaking in front of this monster.”

Raisman said the judge denied victims the chance to speak one week before sentencing.

“I don’t want it to go unread,” Raisman wrote about her letter. “This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Every time I share my story, it feels like the first time. I relive years of trauma. But this is part of my truth and part of my healing. This is survival.”

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 last month. “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.”

Raisman noted in her letter published Thursday that she was overcome with anxiety when thinking about what Nassar had done. Once, she lost consciousness while taking prescribed anxiety and sleeping medications.

“I woke up to my terrified mom calling 911,” Raisman wrote. “I was loaded into an ambulance and taken to the hospital, where the doctors realized the issue was a side effect from one of the medications. My doctor has recommended that I try other medications to help me cope, but the trauma of what happened with those medications put me over the edge. It just added to the list of things I was anxious and stressed about.”

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U.S. Olympic women’s tennis qualifying already looks intense

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Serena Williams is in strong early position to make the 2020 U.S. Olympic team. For everyone else, including older sister Venus Williams, every set of ranking points could be crucial over the next 10 months, including at the upcoming U.S. Open.

The U.S. has seven women in the world top 36 — not including 52nd-ranked Venus — but only four singles players can go to an Olympics from any one country come the rankings cutoff next June.

Serena Williams leads the way for Americans in second place overall in Olympic qualifying — which counts WTA rankings points starting after the 2019 French Open and running through the 2020 French Open. She has 1,885 points despite playing just two events the last two months, taking runner-up at Wimbledon and the Canadian Open.

Only Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, who has already been named Romania’s Opening Ceremony flag bearer, has more Olympic qualifying points (2,395).

After Serena, three more U.S. women are in the top 10 in Olympic qualifying — Sonya Kenin (No. 5), Madison Keys (No. 8) and Alison Riske (No. 10).

Keys, a quarterfinalist or better at all four Grand Slams in her career, jumped from outside the top 20 among Americans to the No. 3 American by notching her biggest title in Ohio last week.

Notables who must improve their ranking start with Venus Williams, who moved from 18th on the U.S. list to eighth by reaching the Cincinnati quarterfinals. She turns 40 before the Tokyo Games and could become the oldest Olympic singles player since the sport returned to the Olympic program following a 64-year break in 1988. She already owns the modern-era record of five Olympic tennis medals from her five previous Games and could still get to the Olympics in doubles if she doesn’t qualify in singles.

Sloane Stephens, the 2017 U.S. Open champion, is 12th in U.S. Olympic qualifying, winning a total of three matches among four tournaments in the window.

The veterans Williams sisters, Keys and Stephens, who made up the 2016 U.S. Olympic singles team, must fend off an emerging class.

Kenin, 20, backed up her French Open upset of Serena Williams by winning a lower-level event in June and then beating the world Nos. 1 and 2 the last two weeks.

Riske is playing some of the best tennis of her career at age 29. She beat world then-No. 1 Ash Barty to make her first Slam quarterfinal at Wimbledon, a week before her wedding.

Then there are two of the phenoms of the year. Coco Gauff, 15, is ninth in U.S. Olympic qualifying after a run to the Wimbledon fourth round. Gauff was granted a wild card into the U.S. Open, after which she can’t play in more than five senior tournaments (and possibly no more than three) until her 16th birthday in March due to WTA age restrictions to keep young teens from burnout.

Amanda Anisimova, 17, is 13th in U.S. Olympic qualifying. Her best results this year — French Open semifinal, Australian Open fourth round — came before the Olympic qualifying window.

It’s looking like the toughest U.S. Olympic women’s singles team to make outright since 2004. Back then, the U.S. had Nos. 4 (Lindsay Davenport), 7 (Jennifer Capriati), 8 (Venus Williams), 11 (Serena Williams) and 18 (Chanda Rubin). Davenport, Capriati and Serena didn’t play at the Athens Games, opening the door for Lisa Raymond to play singles and doubles in Athens.

In 2000, Serena Williams didn’t make the Olympic singles field despite being ranked eighth in the world. A max of three players per nation were taken to Sydney, and the U.S. had Nos. 2, 3 and 6 in Davenport, Venus Williams and Monica Seles.

An Olympic rule mandating a minimum of Fed Cup appearances could affect Tokyo 2020 eligibility. However, the fine print allows for that to be bypassed in discretionary exceptional circumstances.

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U.S. Olympic Women’s Singles Qualifying Standings (Max. 4 can qualify)
1. Serena Williams — 1,885 points
2. Sonya Kenin — 1,081
3. Madison Keys — 972
4. Alison Riske — 802
5. Jennifer Brady — 356
6. Jessica Pegula — 348
7. Madison Brengle — 344
8. Venus Williams — 302
9. Coco Cauff — 298
10. Bernarda Pera — 280
11. Lauren Davis — 245
12. Sloane Stephens — 238
13. Amanda Anisimova — 230

U.S. athletes qualified for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

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The U.S. Olympic team roster for the 2020 Tokyo Games will eventually reach more than 500 athletes. It is currently at seven.

Qualifying competitions and Olympic Trials events dot the schedule from now into early summer 2020.

Athletes qualified so far:

Modern Pentathlon
Samantha Achterberg
Amro Elgeziry

Sport Climbing
Brooke Raboutou

Swimming
Haley Anderson
Ashley Twichell
Jordan Wilimovsky

Triathlon
Summer Rappaport

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