Gold medal-winning gymnast Nastia Liukin is optimistic about the future following the sentencing of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, whom she calls a “monster.”
“I’m hopeful that this is the beginning of change, and we’ll begin a new chapter. It’s long overdue,” Liukin, 28, says, sitting front-row at Bibhu Mohapatra’s Friday afternoon New York Fashion Week show.
Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison late last month after the personal statements of more than 150 sex abuse victims were read aloud and presented against him. Nassar pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct and admitted to molesting girls in his medical care.
“I’m so proud of all of my teammates who have spoken out – Jordyn Wieber, Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, the list goes on,” she says. “My heart hurts for them. But ‘Time’s up,’ and now we put our foot down and have a voice.”
The former gymnast says she “was not abused” by Nassar who was also her doctor.
“I’m very fortunate that I had a very protective father who was there every single day and at every single training camp and every single competition,” she adds. He was “someone I trusted for so many years. He was my doctor since I was 12 and he’s really a criminal and monster.”
Last month, Liukin broke her silence on the sexual misconduct case brought against Nassar in a lengthy blog post. Calling the assaults against her fellow teammates “appalling and disgusting,” she apologized for not speaking publicly on the topic sooner.
“To all the women who have come forward: you are my role models, my heroes and I will forever respect you and be inspired by your bravery and commitment to making our world a better and safer place,” she wrote.
With Meghan Giannotta