In a new foreword for the reprint of “Little Girls in Pretty Boxes,” Olympic gymnast Jamie Dantzscher alleges that USA Gymnastics allowed and encouraged the bronze-medalist to starve herself.
Dantzscher, who became the first gymnast to file a civil suit against USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar in 2016, wrote that her Olympic coaches mentally and emotionally abused her during her time with USA Gymnastics. The coaches and trainers insulted her regularly about her weight and appearance, she alleges.
“My coaches weighed me every day, called me fat, at told me I needed to lose weight. At fifteen years old, I started making myself throw up after meals,” she wrote, via ESPNW. “When I told someone at USA Gymnastics that I was starving myself and throwing up meals, their only response was, ‘I don’t care how you do it, just get the weight off.'”
In addition to her daily weigh-ins, Dantzscher says that the USA Gymnastics coaches and trainers accused her of faking injuries and encouraging her to take pain medication several times a day. She says that instead of allowing her to treat her injuries, they shouted at her for not working hard enough and not wanting to succeed.
Over a professional gymnastics career spanning seven years, Dantzscher says she endured “emotional, physical, and mental abuse” from individuals at USA Gymnastics. She says she eventually accepted that she wouldn’t be allowed to have friends or a social life and had to deal with the fact that her coaches would insult and belittle her.
The allegations are far from the first against USA Gymnastics, as the organization is still under investigation for their part in the abuse of young gymnasts. The Olympic organization is still reeling from the allegations that the organization’s heads knew about team doctor Larry Nassar’s abuse of the young women they trained and coached.
Featured Image via: Flickr/Walter