When the USA Gymnastics (USAG) sex abuse scandal broke in 2016, the focus was on a serial rapist, Dr. Larry Nasser, who, as part of USAG medical team, sexually abused hundreds of girls and young women gymnasts for nearly two decades. This documentary does not really shine a light on anything new regarding Nasser – he ended up going to prison for one hundred and twenty years for his crimes. What this documentary does do really well is focus on the systemic denials and cover-ups perpetrated by coaches, administrators and the president of USAG, Steve Penny. Bela and Marta Karolyi, famous gymnastics coaches, who ran an elite training ranch in Texas, participated in the cover-ups, and were accused of mentally and physically abusing the athletes, all for the sake of producing champions. That ranch is now permanently closed.
With over 500 women athletes stepping forward to bravely disclose their abuse stories, they are led by Maggie Nichols, our ATHLETE A, who is a world-class gymnast that was punished for being one of the first whistle-blowers again Nasser, by being denied an earned spot on the 2016 US Women’s Gymnastics Olympic Team. Many of the women got to face their abuser in court before his sentencing, affording them the smallest amount of justice. All that is left is for Steve Penny to stand trial and answer for his alleged evil doings – all for the sake of money and protecting the USAG brand.
ATHLETE A provides a small measure of justice to the hundreds of USA Gymnasts who were abused.
Available now on Netflix.