(CBS) – USA Gymnastics responded to scathing criticism on Thursday for its biggest star. Simone Biles broke down in tears one day earlier, saying team officials failed to protect her and her teammates from convicted sex predator Larry Nassar, the former team doctor.
“It’s not easy being out here,” Biles told CBS News. “I feel every day is a reminder of what I went through.”
Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles is one of hundreds of athletes abused by former doctor Larry Nassar, who worked for both Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics. Nassar is in prison for multiple sex crimes.
“But it’s hard coming here for an organization having had them failed us so many times,” Biles said. “You had one job. You literally had one job and you couldn’t protect us.”
Now gymnast Maggie Nichols, who first reported her concerns about Nassar in June 2015, told CBS News it takes a lot of strength for Biles to continue her Olympic training, saying, “for me it would be very hard. I give her a lot of props.”
It took almost a year for the FBI to contact Nichols after they learned of her complaint.
A Senate report released on July 30 provides a clue about why it took so long. It turns out USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny tried to help the FBI investigator, special agent in charge Jay Abbott, get a job with the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC).
The report cites an October 2015 email from Abbott, thanking Penny for “the beer and conversation a few weeks ago, and saying, ‘I very much appreciate what you did. …the position with the USOC is truly a tantalizing and interesting possible opportunity post-bureau.'”
“It becomes a problem whenever we work with future people … how can we trust them?” Biles said.