Even though speaking out against the U.S. Olympic Committee can be scary for an athlete who hasn’t ruled out competing in the 2020 Olympics, Aly Raisman opened up about why she wasn’t scared to criticize the organization for their role in allowing former Team USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar — who was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing women and girls in his care — to keep his job for so many years.
“When I first started speaking out it was really scary,” Raisman, 23, told PEOPLE Now. “But I know it’s the right thing to do and I think the right thing to do is always really important.”
“I don’t think the United States Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University are doing the right thing, they haven’t done it all and they continue to not take accountability,” she added. “Larry Nassar didn’t even have his medical license in Texas, where he treated us at the Karolyi Ranch in Texas and that just shows, organizations have to do a better job. Everyone has to do a better job.”
“This is a lot more common than we ever thought and everyone has to be talking about it. And I think if you’re not pissed off and scared and devastated then you’re not paying attention,” she explained.
When Raisman delivered her powerful statement during Nassar’s sexual abuse sentencing hearing in Michigan’s Ingham County last month, she became the face of an army of young women who are determined to make changes in the sport of gymnastics.
And while Raisman is happy that Nassar has been sentenced, she added that she won’t rest until there is an independent investigation of both USA Gymnastics and the U. S. Olympic Committee, as well as Michigan State University, where Nassar worked as a sports physician from 1997 to 2016.
With her new visibility, Raisman is unsure whether she’ll head to Tokyo to compete in 2020. While she’s keeping her options open, she acknowledges that she has another priority at this time.
“I’ve been to two Olympic Games, and I love gymnastics so much,” she told PEOPLE. “I love the Olympics and being able to represent my country. But with everything going on right now, I realize that this is more important than any gold medal. My main focus is fixing this organization and getting to the bottom of what happened.”
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When asked whether she was able to watch this year’s 2018 Winter Olympics after speaking out against the organization, Raisman told PEOPLE Now that she was able to “separate my thoughts on how I’m disappointed in the US Olympic Committee” and “support all the athletes.”
“I’ve been watching, I’ve been cheering them on, and I’m proud of everything they’ve done so far.”