Larry Nassar, an osteopathic physician, served as the USA Gymnastics women’s physician for 29 years. Athlete A, a new Netflix investigative documentary, focuses on Nassar’s abuse of young female gymnasts. But Athlete A goes far beyond just Nassar and his story; we also see the Indianapolis Star reporters that broke the story in 2016 and hear from some of the gymnasts who her personally impacted. What does the documentary film really get into?
‘Athlete A’, released in June 2020, is a shocking and harrowing tale of U.S. athletics
Released on June 24, 2020, in Athlete A, directors Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk focus considerably on gymnast Maggie Nichols. Nichols was the first brave girl to report Larry Nassar’s crimes to USA Gymnastics. Thus, she was given the pseudonym “Athlete A” to protect her true identity.
Nichols, now age 22, began her gymnastics career at the age of 3 with the Twin City Twisters, in her home state of Minnesota. Gymnastics became her passion at a young age. In the documentary, Nichols says, “I just love gymnastics. I love the drive that it gives me. It teaches you to be strong, independent.”
Nichols made the U.S. National Team at age 15, training and competing with the team from 2013 through 2016. She was also a member of the 2015 World Championship team, which also included such elite athletes as Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, and Aly Raisman.
The Netflix documentary film focuses mainly on young gymnast Maggie Nichols
The documentary tells Nichols’ harrowing story. In 2015, Nichols and her team members were at the national training center in Huntsville, Texas run by well-known Olympic Coaches, Bela and Martha Karolyi. After sustaining a back injury, Nichols described receiving treatment from Larry Nassar; it didn’t go as she expected.
“I was kind of like, confused, and wondering what it was,” Nicols says in the documentary Athlete A. “It didn’t seem right. I’d never experienced anything like that.” She decided to ask her friend and teammate Aly Raisman, about the treatment.
“’Does he do this to you? Is this normal?’” Nicholas says she asked Raisman. “And she said, ‘Yeah, he does it to me, too.’”
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Nichols’ personal coach, Sarah Jantzi, overheard this conversation and reported it to her mother.
“I want to let you know that I overheard from Maggie and another athlete that Larry Nassar was touching her funny,” Jantzi explained to Nichols’ mother.
According to Athlete A, the coach reassured her mother she would contact the USA Gymnastics Women’s Program Director immediately. At the time, Steve Perry, then President and CEO of USA…
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