Speaking for the first time since testifying against her former coach, gymnast Laurie Hernandez finally feels validated.
Hernandez, a member of the 2016 US gold medalist, was one of a dozen gymnasts who reported being verbally or emotionally assaulted by former US gymnastics coach Maggie Haney.
Haney was suspended by USA Gymnastics on Wednesday for eight years after failing to “provide a safe, positive and healthy environment with a culture of trust and empowerment”. “Data-reactid =” 25 “> Haney was suspended by USA Gymnastics for eight years on Wednesday after failing” To provide a safe, positive and healthy environment with a culture of trust and empowerment. “
via the New York Times. “But wow, they did the right thing. I can’t believe they did the right thing. “” Data-reactid = “26”> “I thought they were just going to try to sweep it under the rug,” said Hernandez, via The New York Times. “But wow, they did the right thing. I can’t believe they did the right thing. ”
“I thought I deserved it all”
Hernandez filed his first abuse complaints against Haney with an American gymnastics official in 2016.
Hernandez, now 19, said that Haney’s abuse triggered an eating disorder and depression. She said that Haney would shout minor mistakes at her, call her, scold her for her weight and body and more. The parents reportedly said they saw girls ashamed of Haney’s fat and kicked out others. She even reportedly forced injured gymnasts to remove casts of boots and other medical equipment to continue training.
Hernandez said she even started wearing two sports bras to flatten her chest after Haney commented on her breasts.
“I thought I deserved all of this,” said Hernandez, via The New York Times.
“The hardest part about it was that there were no bruises or marks to show it was real. Everything was so twisted that I thought it couldn’t be real. ”
Hernandez started training with Haney’s team at the age of 5. As a teenager, Hernandez remembers crying in the morning before even getting out of bed thinking of seeing Haney in training later in the day.
It wasn’t all bad, however – something she said made the situation even more confusing. She recalled fun team banquets, sleepovers, and ice trips. However, the practices were horrible.
“Any compliment was like holy water,” said Hernandez, via The New York Times. “He spent one day walking on eggs with her and telling her the next day that” we are in the same boat. “She really knew how to play with your head. “
Views of Tokyo
Hernandez helped the US team win a gold medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, and won a silver medal itself on the balance beam. She even participated in “Dancing With the Stars” after the games and has written two books.
However, supporting Haney’s abuse was not worth it.
via the New York Times. & nbsp; “Data-reactid =” 40 “>” I am grateful to have arrived at the Olympic Games, but at what cost? Hernandez said, via The New York Times.
Now Hernandez has moved to California and is training in a new gymnasium. She also receives treatment for her “total major depression” and is ultimately happy in the sport.
His next goal is to travel to the next Tokyo Olympics – which have been postponed until next summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
via the New York Times, “And people treat me the way I want to be treated, and that makes me happy. “” Data-reactid = “43”> “Whether I’m going to Tokyo or not, I’m doing something that I like all alone”, said Hernandez, via The New York Times, “and people treat me like I want to be treated, and that makes me happy. ”