Minnesota gymnast featured prominently in Netflix documentary 'Athlete A'

The documentary details serial sexual abuse involving a former team doctor.
Author:
Publish date:

"Athlete A," the highly anticipated Netflix documentary about the serial sexual abuse involving a former USA Gymnastics doctor, comes out on Wednesday and will prominently feature Minnesota native Maggie Nichols. 

Nichols, a native of Little Canada who now stars as a gymnast at the University of Oklahoma, shared her story of surviving sexual abuse through a letter released to the public in 2015, in which she said she was 15 and experiencing back pain while competing at the World Championships when Dr. Larry Nassar began abusing her. 

Nichols wrote that she had been treated by Nassar before for an elbow injury without incident. But when she went in for her back, he took her into a room where he closed the door and shut the blinds.

"At the time I thought this was kind of weird but figured it must be okay. I thought he probably didn’t want to distract the other girls and I trusted him," she wrote. Nassar touched her in places that she "really didn't think he should," and he wasn't wearing gloves nor explaining what he was doing. 

"There was no one else in the room and I accepted what he was doing because I was told by adults that he was the best doctor and he could help relieve my pain."

The sexual abuse was reported to USA Gymnastics in the summer of 2015, but as the documentary explains, instead of the criminal behavior being reported to law enforcement, USA Gymnastics conducted a private investigation to allegedly protect Nassar, according to a film review by Variety

“There’s no holding back at all. It’s straight forward, it’s straight to the point, which is incredible,” Nichols, explaining the documentary, said to WCCO-TV. “And I think it’s going to be super educational and people are really, I think their eyes are going to open.”

Nassar was accused of sexually assaulting more than 100 gymnasts through his work with USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University. He later admitted to the crimes, in addition to pleading guilty to multiple charges of child pornography. 

Nassar was sentenced to 175 years in a Michigan prison for seven counts of sexual assault of minors, followed by another 40-to-125-year sentence for an additional three counts of sexual abuse.

Next Up

Andrelton Simmons / Minnesota Twins

Twins sign Andrelton Simmons to one-year deal

The former Angels shortstop is a four-time Gold Glove winner.

covid, vaccine

Minnesotans eligible for COVID shots only need to pre-register once for vaccine lottery

This is good news for people worried that they'd need to sign up every week.

police lights

2 people charged in separate Minneapolis homicides that happened hours apart

A woman is accused of stabbing a man in the chest over $60, while a man is accused of accidentally shooting a victim on the man's birthday.

House for sale

Despite pandemic, Twin Cities housing market set records in 2020

Sales were up 7.7% in 2020 compared to the year before.

Target store inside

Target unveils 'limited-edition' home, lifestyle collection with Levi Strauss

The new collection will be available in some stores and everyone online Feb. 28.

Tim Walz

Walz's $52.4 billion budget increases school spending, raises taxes on wealthy

He says the budget will help level the playing field and ensure all Minnesotans have a fair shot at economic recovery,

Screen Shot 2021-01-26 at 12.55.00 PM

Pictures from Minnesota GOP's Deadwood retreat show no masks, no distancing

The pictures were shared in Chair Jennifer Carnahan's latest email newsletter.

Alexus Norberg

Search for girl, 14, missing from St. Cloud

The teen left her home without her parents' permission.

coronavirus, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, January 26

The health departments provided new data daily at 11 a.m.

Related

Netflix's popular and controversial 13 Reasons Why renewed for second season

That means 13 more episodes dealing with the lasting effects of Hannah Baker's suicide.

Netflix suspends filming on 'House of Cards'

The announcement follows sexual assault allegations against Kevin Spacey.

Netflix releases eerie trailer for its JonBenét Ramsey doc

Netflix hopes to captivate audiences with its documentary about the death that captivated America.

A movie filmed in MN arrives on Netflix next week – and the reviews are good

Fans of Christopher Lloyd – and the Iron Range – should check it out.

Watch the new Iron Fist trailer from Netflix's Marvel universe

The Iron Fist is the fourth piece of The Defenders – sort of a mini Avengers.