The retired U.S. gymnast is opening up about how the situation involving Britney Spears resonates with her personally.
HOUSTON, Texas — Editor’s note: The attached video is from July 15, before the start of the Tokyo Olympics.
McKayla Maroney said this week she had to “fake it till you make it” to “survive” the 2012 Olympic Games, amid abuse from then-gymnastics team doctor, Larry Nassar.
The gold medal champion posted on Instagram Monday, sharing her story as a survivor of sexual abuse.
“From my experience speaking up about abuse is extremely exhausting physically, mentally, and emotionally,” Maroney began her Instagram caption. “From a young age I was taught to work hard, and persevere. Gymnastics taught me to be tough, resilient, and to overcome all obstacles.”
The 25-year-old also explained how the Britney Spears conservatorship battle resonates with her deeply, and painfully.
“Just like Britney, I also had to ‘fake it till you make it’ to survive my 2012 Olympics. I was just trying to accomplish my dream, but I had abuse coming at me from many angles that I didn’t understand how to process at 15.
I had to suppress it, and I had to minimize it, just to get through the day,” Maroney wrote.
The retired gymnast applauded the pop singer for testifying in court and begging a Los Angeles judge to end her decade-long conservatorship with her father, Jamie Spears.
“I’m so proud of Britney for speaking out. She deserves to spend the rest of her life healing in peace, or doing whatever she wants,” Maroney wrote. “The people who control her are criminals, and abusers, just like USA gymnastics, and the USOC used me and their athletes for money, but didn’t care to protect us.”
In 2017, Maroney publicly accused Nassar of molesting her.
The rest of the 2012 “Fierce Five” Olympic team, comprised of Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, Jordyn Wieber and Kyla Ross also came forward as survivors of the doctor’s abuse, along with Simone Biles.
In total, more than 260 women came forward to report abuse suffered at the hands of Nassar.
Nassar’s sexual abuse spanned decades, under the guise of giving young athletes examinations or medical treatment. He is currently serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison, after pleading guilty to separate charges, involving child pornography.
He is then facing 40 to 125 years in prison after pleading guilty to assaulting seven girls.