Maggie Nichols Says She Was 1st to Report Larry Nassar to USAG Leadership in '15

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2018

Oklahoma's Maggie Nichols competes on the uneven parallel bars during the NCAA college women's gymnastics championships, Saturday, April 15, 2017, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Gymnast Maggie Nichols wrote in a letter that she was the first person to alert USA Gymnastics about the practices of former Team USA physician Larry Nassar in the summer of 2015.

According to ESPN.com's John Barr, Nichols wrote that she had previously been referred to anonymously in investigations regarding Nassar: "Up until now, I was identified as Athlete A by USA gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic Committee and Michigan State University. I want everyone to know that he did not do this to Athlete A, he did it to Maggie Nichols."

Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in prison on child pornography charges, and he is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct against minors committed under the guise of medical treatment.

Nichols, now 20, wrote that Nassar began treating her for back pain at the age of 15: "I started to have back problems while at a National Team Camp at the Karolyi Ranch. This is when the changes in his medical treatments occurred. I remember he took me into the training room, closed the door and closed the blinds. At the time I thought this was kind of weird but figured it must be okay ... but then he started touching me in places I really didn't think he should."

Nichols added that she and her coach notified USA Gymnastics of Nassar's actions after her coach overheard her talking about the treatments with another gymnast.

She also wrote about Nassar interacting with her on social media:

"Not only was Larry Nassar my doctor, I thought he was my friend. He contacted me on Facebook complimenting me and telling me how beautiful I looked on numerous occasions. But I was only 15 and I just thought he was trying to be nice to me. Now I believe this was part of the grooming process I recently learned about. We were subjected to Dr. Nassar at every National Team Camp which occurred monthly at the Karolyi Ranch. His job was to care for our health and treat our injuries. Instead, he violated our innocence."

Several other high-profile gymnasts have alleged sexual misconduct against Nassar as well, including Olympic gold medalists Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Gabby Douglas.

While Nichols no longer competes for the national team, she is currently a sophomore gymnast at the University of Oklahoma.

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