For the past few years, Aly Raisman has captured hearts all across the world.
The 23-year-old from Needham, Massachusetts, has won six Olympic medals for gymnastics, and was captain of the “Final Five” US gymnastic team that took the 2016 Rio Olympics by storm.
Now, Aly is writing a book titled Fierce, in which she details some of the most amazing moments in her life — and some of the worst.
This year, Aly’s teammate McKayla Maroney stepped forward and alleged that Larry Nassar, the USA gymnastics team doctor, had repeatedly sexually assaulted her, beginning when she was just 13. Aly says that when McKayla spoke out, she had a “revelation,” and realized that the inappropriate things McKayla detailed had also happened to her.
Up until then, she says she had been making excuses for Nassar, which is “often what people do when they’re manipulated,” she said on TODAY.
In an appearance on that show to promote her book, Aly opened up about why she has decided to speak out. “[I] wanted to do the right thing,” she said.
Most touchingly, Aly revealed that she received a letter from a 14-year-old girl just a few days after she spoke out about her abuse. The teen wrote to say that she had read Aly’s statements about the abuse, and that Aly’s bravery in speaking out had given her the courage to speak up about her own sexual abuse at the hands of her father.
Aly says that letter “is more important to me than any medal I’ve ever won in my life.”
The athlete hopes that her book will help people in tough situations realize that “one bad chapter in your book doesn’t mean your story’s over.”
Watch the video below to hear more from Aly, and please SHARE this important story on Facebook.
Some readers may find the following video emotionally upsetting. If you do not wish to watch details of Aly’s sexual abuse, please click back to the LittleThings homepage.
Due to restrictions, this video cannot
be viewed in your region.