The importance and benefits of alone time
The importance and benefits of alone time

Niamh Ennis

The best street style from Paris Fashion Week
The best street style from Paris Fashion Week

Holly O'Neill

I spent the last month binging rom-coms on Netflix and Amazon Prime: Here are my 15 favourites
I spent the last month binging rom-coms on Netflix and Amazon Prime: Here are my...

Lauren Heskin

‘Last century’s witch is this century’s SL*T’ – Why unruly women will always be damned
‘Last century’s witch is this century’s SL*T’ – Why unruly women will always be damned

Geraldine Carton

That Robin Williams test footage broke our hearts, and his daughter’s too
That Robin Williams test footage broke our hearts, and his daughter’s too

Sarah Finnan

California Cool: This Irish-built contemporary home is a music lover’s dream
California Cool: This Irish-built contemporary home is a music lover’s dream

IMAGE

We need to just stop commenting on other people’s bodies
We need to just stop commenting on other people’s bodies

Megan Burns

18 of Dublin’s best cheap eats
18 of Dublin’s best cheap eats

Ali Dunworth

Myleene Klass: The trauma of miscarriage ‘never goes away’
Myleene Klass: The trauma of miscarriage ‘never goes away’

Sarah Finnan

We all woke up this morning and played Adele’s new song, right? Here’s what we know about the upcoming album
We all woke up this morning and played Adele’s new song, right? Here’s what we...

Megan Burns

Image / Editorial

Netflix’s ‘Athlete A’ is the powerful documentary you need to see


by Jennifer McShane
24th Jun 2020
blank

A dark story, balanced by hope thanks to over 250 brave survivors who spoke out against Larry Nassar, the USA Gymnastics (USAG) team doctor who abused hundreds of young women during his 29-year tenure is a must-watch. It sees journalists and the young women fight to expose decades of systematic abuse which resulted in exposing one of the biggest sporting scandals in US history  


What’s the story?

Nassar, a former USAG team doctor, was sentenced to more than 300 years for abusing young gymnasts in 2018. The documentary charts an investigation by the Indianapolis Star (IndyStar), which began in 2016 with help from survivors, police and attorneys, that brought Nassar to justice. For weeks, prior to his sentencing, scores of young athletes came forward with emotional testimonies detailing the life-long impact Nassar’s abuse had on their lives.

Throughout the film, directors Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk ask two key questions: why was Nassar able to abuse these women for more than two decades? And did USAG cover it up?

They take an in-depth look into the culture that allowed the abuse to continue. And the girls had not been silent about what was going on – they told people around them from parents to coaches. They were interviewed, reports were written up, charges recommended at various stages. Only nothing happened.

“When we started to work with the IndyStar, we started to realise the investigation that led them to Nassar was actually an investigation into USA Gymnastics policy, around how it dealt with reports of sexual abuse,” Shenk told BBC Sport

“Larry Nassar was just one bad guy within a system that has tolerated abuse for decades. The truth that was exposed was that they had been burying cases for many, many years,” added Cohen.

How did Nassar get exposed?

They explained the initial story came from former USA gymnast, Jennifer Sey, who was national champion in 1986 before retiring from the sport in 1988. She had written a book and was in touch with many gymnasts who also happened to be at the centre of the Nassar scandal.

The IndyStar than began to report its investigative pieces from 2016 onwards – their initial report was titled ‘Out of Balance’ and published in August of that year – and the story began to gain traction, thanks to their tireless efforts.

Who is Athlete A? 

Gymnast Maggie Nichols, who remained anonymous for some time and was referred to as only “Athlete A,” was the first one to report it to USA Gymnastics around 2015, who then said in a statement in 2018 that after a private investigator had interviewed Nichols and a second gymnast, it did not have “a reasonable suspicion that sexual abuse had occurred.”

She blasted the organisation for not responding faster or doing more to stop him from assaulting more young women.

The documentary also details how Rachael Denhollander, a former gymnast and now a lawyer, was the first woman to come forward and publically accuse Nassar after she came across the IndyStar article alleging malpractice at USAG in 2016.

“Ultimately, it’s a story about people who were taken advantage of by an organisation that lost sight of its responsibility,” continued Shenk.

“The Olympics is a big event in the United States. But, over the years, it became very much about the marketing of the athletes. Unfortunately, many of the organisations, including USA Gymnastics, did not have policies in place to protect the, often very young, athletes.”

Watch the trailer below:

Main photograph: @Variety 

Athlete A is on Netflix now

If you or someone you know is suffering with sexual violence or abuse, you can contact Dublin Rape Crisis Centre’s 24 Hour Helpline at 1800 77 8888. 

One in Four is a charity that supports adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. You can call on 01 662 4070.


Read more: ‘Brave and inspirational’ family of women praised for speaking out about sexual abuse

Read more: The trauma of childhood sexual abuse: ‘I refuse to be part of that secret anymore’

Read more: ‘Stereotypes run deep in people’: Netflix’s extraordinary CRIP CAMP is a must-see

Also Read

blank
EDITORIAL
Trinity Tales: ‘Front Square was her garden, and the city was her playground’

Annie Gatling, now Colleran, knew Trinity College was for her when she saw Front Gate from the top storey of...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
premium EDITORIAL
Business Club members get your complimentary tickets to The IMAGE Business Summit 2021

Don’t miss this year’s IMAGE Business Summit, with an expert line-up, skills masterclasses, keynote addresses and more.Back by popular demand,...

By Shayna Sappington

blank
EDITORIAL
This spatchcock chicken recipe will make your weekend

This is a great way to get a juicy roast chicken, bursting with flavour.     Bord Bia’s Spatchcock Chicken...

By Meg Walker

Mandy Moore pumping
EDITORIAL
Mandy Moore climbed an active volcano at dawn… while pumping

Hiking a mountain and breast pumping – now, that’s what we call multitasking at its finest. Mandy Moore enjoyed an...

By Sarah Finnan

brain
EDITORIAL
8 easy ways to keep your brain healthy that you can do right now

Your brain health is just as important as that of the rest of your body, says psychologist and neuroscientist Dr...

By IMAGE

toxic
EDITORIAL
How to let go of toxic people, and the signs to recognise

By Niamh Ennis

Keith-_-Tara_130_Web Shantanu Starick painting kitchen cabinets
EDITORIAL
How to limit drips and brush strokes while painting kitchen cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets can be transformative and can be achieved relatively low-cost, but you need the right equipment, and a lot of...

By Amanda Kavanagh