Simone Biles Talks Representing Abuse Survivors with Her Olympics Return: 'I'm Still Here'
The professional gymnast, 24, opened up to Hoda Kotb on Wednesday's episode of the Today show — 100 days before the Tokyo Games — about how her return to the mat will be symbolic after she previously went public with the abuse she experienced at the hands of convicted sexual predator and former Team USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.
"I just feel like [with] everything that happened, I had to come back to the sport to be a voice, to have change happen," Biles told Kotb, 56.
She continued, "Because I feel like if there weren't a remaining survivor in the sport, they would've just brushed it to the side."
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In 2019, Biles bravely joined her fellow gymnasts in detailing the abuse inflicted on them by Nassar, who is currently serving a life sentence on charges of child pornography and sexual misconduct after more than 150 women and girls said he sexually abused them.
The celebrated gymnast previously ripped USA Gymnastics for not looking out for her and her fellow athletes, weeks after a congressional investigation reportedly found that the organization "knowingly concealed" abuse by Nassar, 57.
"Since I'm still here and I have quite a social media presence and platform, they have to do something," Biles told Kotb on Wednesday. "So I feel like, coming back, gymnastics just wasn't the only purpose I was supposed to do."
"I don't think I knew [that was part of my reason], either, but I feel like gymnastics wasn't the only thing I was supposed to come back for," she added.
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Since Nassar's sentencing, Biles has become an outspoken voice for change within USA Gymnastics. The athlete hasn't held back in her criticism of the organization, even clapping back at a birthday tribute they posted in her honor in March 2020.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.