Former US Gymnast McKayla Maroney Recounts How Abuse Turned 2012 Olympics Into a Daily Struggle

She also praises the recent efforts of Britney Spears

McKayla Maroney
Getty Images

McKayla Maroney came out in support of Britney Spears as a fellow victim of abuse who was forced to hide her personal troubles as a public figure during thee 2012 Olympics.

The former gymnast posted a photo of herself wearing a Britney Spears T-shirt writing, ” From my experience speaking up about abuse is extremely exhausting physically, mentally, and emotionally.”

“From a young age I was taught to work hard, and persevere,” Maroney continued. “Gymnastics taught me to be tough, resilient, and to overcome all obstacles… and if you know me, or have been following me, you probably have picked up that I’m naturally just a positive, bubbly person, who leans more towards optimism, and having faith because that’s what makes me happy.”

“So calling out abusers, and dwelling on all the dark negative pieces of my past felt extremely wrong for me,” Maroney added. “I hated the depressing tone my life took on, and how the media portrayed me. I never wanted to be seen as a victim, I just wanted Larry Nassar in jail, and the people who enabled the abuse to be held accountable. I wanted to MOVE ON, and go back to being myself, but I needed to learn the power of my voice, boundaries, and WHEN to be resilient.”

Maroney noted that, “Britney’s story resonates with me so much, because 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,” she said.

“I had to suppress it, and I had to minimize it, just to get through the day.”

Maroney accused USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar of sexually abusing her in 2017, starting from the age of 13 until her retirement from gymnastics in 2016. She was one of over 150 women who came forward with similar allegations. Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 125 years in prison for three counts of criminal sexual assault.

The athlete also attributed fault to the media saying that it is “hugely to blame,” for causing mental and emotional struggles to individuals in the limelight.

“To this day media bullies celebrities, and athletes with dramatic click bait stories and false reports, for their benefit. Not caring at all how it affects the person or families life. It’s time to hold the media accountable for the damage they create.”

She then praised Spears, writing, “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. 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.”

Spears is fighting to terminate her continuing conservatorship, Spears appeared in court on June 23, declaring the conservatorship abusive, and giving an account of how she suffered throughout the years.

“I’ve lied and told the whole world I’m OK and I’m happy,” Spears said. “If I said that enough, maybe I’d become happy. … I’m in shock. I’m traumatized. … I’m so angry it’s insane.”

 “It’s not OK to force me to do anything I don’t want to do. … I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive. I don’t feel like I can live a full life.”


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