Simone Biles paused, her voice cracked, she trembled a little and fought back the tears.
But their message was unequivocal: In the abuse scandal of the US gymnastics federation, the superstar emphasized at a hearing for the US Senate in Washington, even the highest investigative authorities in the country had failed.
"It really feels like the FBI is looking the other way," Biles said.
The four-time Rio Olympic champion, who caused a worldwide sensation at the Tokyo Games due to her mental breakdown, reported in January 2018 that she had been abused by former US team doctor Larry Nassar. Between September 2016 and November 2017, gym stars McKayle Maroney, Gabrielle Douglas and Alexandra "Aly" Raisman had already made identical allegations. A total of 265 women had registered.
Before the Judiciary Committee of the US Senate, Biles and Raisman demanded consequences against current and former agents of the FBI.
You would have handled the Nasser case poorly.
In fact, a report by the Ministry of Justice had already come to the conclusion that the "Bureau" had not recognized the "seriousness and urgency" of the case after initial indications in 2015.
In addition, agents processed evidence incorrectly and later lied about it.
"I blame a whole system"
Three-time Olympic champion Raisman told the senators that it took more than 14 months for the FBI to even react. "Why do duly sworn officers ignore reports of abuse across state lines?" She asked. Her former teammate Maroney, 2012 team Olympic champion, added that the FBI had "let a child molester roam free for more than a year".
Biles also called for officials from the US Gymnastics Federation and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committees to be held accountable.
"To be clear: I am not only blaming Larry Nasser, I am blaming a whole system that made his abuse possible and encouraged," she said.
She wanted to prevent someone from having to go through "the horror" that she and others had experienced.
The FBI director Christopher Way, who has only been in office since August 2017, apologized at the hearing for the “fundamental mistakes” of his agency, “which should never have happened”.
However, Biles was unforgiving: “We have been let down.
We have suffered and are still suffering because no one (at the FBI and the associations) did what was necessary to protect us. "
Nasser, who also abused female athletes at Michigan State University, was sentenced to 60 years in prison in July 2017 for possession of child pornography, and then to another 40 to 175 years on the abuse trial in January 2018.Keywords: