Olympian Dominique Moceanu Models A Fresh Start For American Gymnasts

Every four years, the Olympic Games give us a brief glimpse into the world of gymnastics -- strength, determination, and focus all on display. Rarely do we see the sometimes-seamy underside to all those graceful leaps, high-flying flips, and winning smiles.

That changed one year ago, in a Michigan courtroom.

More than 150 current and former athletes ripped back the curtain, documenting decades of sexual abuse by Larry Nassar, the former team doctor for USA Gymnastics and for Michigan State University. Displaying the power and strength normally reserved for their routines, they spoke out not only against Nassar, but against the negligence of the other adults in charge -- the ones who profited from their excellence and were supposed to protect them.

Nassar will spend the rest of his life in prison, but even today, the institutions where he worked continue to unravel. MSU Interim President John Engler resigned last month, driven from office after telling a newspaper reporter that some of the victims in the Nassar case appeared to be "enjoying the spotlight."

Last month, the U.S. Department of Education blasted Michigan State's handling of the Nassar case and other sexual assaults on campus, saying the school may have violated federal laws; and now faces heavy fines.

In December, USA Gymnastics, the sport's governing body, filed for bankruptcy amid lawsuits filed by hundreds of Nassar victims. The entire board resigned and, after multiple hirings and firings, the organization remains leaderless.

In an extended interview, Olympic gold medalist Dominique Moceanu discusses life as a world-class gymnast and the physical and emotional toll she endured -- and eventually helped expose. Moceanu also shares her thoughts on the current state of gymnastics, and how she’s using her experience to make a difference in the lives of local gymnasts.

 

 

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