Gymnastics is something that has a special place in my heart. I started the sport recreationally when I was probably about eight years-old, and although I didn’t do it for as long as I would have liked to (I grew to be too tall), I will always have a tremendous appreciation for it as it really is one of the most difficult sports on earth.
A few years ago, allegations came out regarding Larry Nassar, who was the national team doctor for USA Gymnastics and further an osteopathic physician at Michigan State University, pertaining to sexual abuse and assault of female athletes.
Let’s just say my respect for USA Gymnastics took a serious nose dive.
Athlete A is a documentary-style movie that recently premiered via Netflix that covers the story of USA Gymnastics and their efforts to cover up Nassar’s disgusting behaviour. Despite some athletes bravely coming forward to report the abuse, USA Gymnastics and it’s high-ranking officials did everything in their power to hide the truth about Nassar’s decades of sexual assault to literal children in an attempt, in my opinion, to maintain their image.
This film is a powerful exemplification of unity amongst the athletes who were traumatized by this man. The film doesn’t name every survivor that came forward, but it does state that over 500 women came forward with reports of abuse they endured throughout their gymnastic career. Maggie Nichols, Jamie Dantzscher and Rachael Denhollendar provide a lot of testimony in the film, and these three women ultimately got the ball rolling in convicting Nassar of his heinous crimes.
Directed by Bonnie Cohen and Jon Shenk, Athlete A is a riveting film that displays the harsh realities of what occurred over the course of decades within USA Gymnastics, and it is a film everyone should take the time to watch.