Olympian Aly Raisman has revealed how she overcame the abuse she experienced from disgraced doctor Larry Nassar, weeks after she formerly announced her retirement from gymnastics.
Raisman, 25, visited the Today show for the fourth hour with Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager to discuss her recent retirement and how therapy helped her overcome the abuse she experienced.
‘I do a lot of therapy,’ the gymnast confessed to Kotb and Hager.
Moving on: Olympian Aly Raisman, 25, has revealed how she overcame the abuse she experienced from disgraced doctor Larry Nassar when on the Today show
Her journey: She appeared on the Today show with Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager to discuss her retirement and moving on from her abuse
Priority: She said therapy and having a great team has helped her move forward from the sexual abuse she suffered from disgraced Olympic doctor Larry Nassar
Heartfelt: When announcing her retirement earlier in January, Raisman revealed what she would say to her eight-year-old self (pictured) now
She continued: ‘[I] really want to make an impact and help other people. And I’ve learned that if I want to help other people, I need to take care of myself. So I have a really great team of people at home that help me. I think also hanging out with friends and laughing and having fun [helps].’
When looking back on the past couple years, specifically the year Nassar went to trial in 2017 and into 2018, Raisman realized she did not live her life like how she wanted.
‘I honestly look back now and it makes me sad because I forgot how to have fun,’ she said. ‘I think I barely laughed the entire year. So now I am making the effort to have fun, really figure out what makes me happy, and surround myself with good people.’
Kotb asked Raisman how she has been able to find joy in the last couple years after dealing with the abuse she experienced from Nassar.
The gymnast confronted the former Olympic doctor in January 2018 while he was on trial, standing up against the abuse she received from the man when she was just a young girl.
While she is learning to move past the abuse, Raisman said she didn’t want anyone to think she never has bad days.
‘I want people to know that my life is not perfect, there is no such thing as that. And I think every day I feel differently. Some days I wake up and I feel better, other days it’s a little bit harder to think positively,’ she said.
Heartwarming: The Today show also brought on young gymnasts who are inspired by Raisman
Important: ‘I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection and I found thinking about things I would say to my younger self has been really healing and therapeutic,’ Raisman said
Incredible: The two-time Olympian Raisman (pictured in 2016) announced her retirement from gymnastics just a few months ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics
One way she’s been prioritizing her mental health is recognizing ‘it’s OK to some days feel like it’s not OK.’ Raisman will also unplug from social media and technology when she needs to.
Rumors circulated Raisman was retiring from gymnastics in recent months, but she didn’t officially make the announcement until January.
When speaking on Today, she said she was thinking about retirement ‘a lot lately’, specifically in the last couple of months. Her written statement included a section where she detailed what she would tell her eight-year-old self.
‘I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection, and I found thinking about things I would say to my younger self has been really healing and therapeutic,’ Raisman said.
‘It’s been a really peaceful feelings. It just kind of inspired this letter and this idea. I really wanted to be honest. I’ve tried to share as much of my journey with the fans as possible and this just felt like where I am right now.’
The statement first revealed she was retiring from the sport before going into what she would tell her younger self.
‘I envision her eyes lighting up and a smile spreading across her face as she learns she will one day be like those gymnasts she watched on TV, and that she will inspire some other little girl to cartwheel around her house, dreaming of one day competing at the Olympics,’ she wrote.
‘The power of dreams is too big to put into words, but I’d try anyway since it is what makes magic happen. It’s also what will get her through the tough times.’
Fighting back: The decision comes after the last couple years was spent with Raisman speaking out against Nassar and his abuse
Disgraced: The doctor went to trial from 2017 and into 2018. He was sentenced 140 years in prison on 10 counts of sexual abuse. More than 250 women came forward against the doctor
Raisman struggled with if she would also want to inform her younger self about the tougher times in the industry.
‘I really struggle when I think about whether I’d tell her about those tough times,” Raisman wrote. ‘I wonder if I would tell her that life would be filled with ups and downs, and that there are people in the sport who will fail to protect her and her teammates.
‘It would be so hard to tell her that, but I would make sure she knows she will get through it and she will be OK.’
Nassar was a former campus sports physician who also worked for USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians. He was sentenced in 2018 to more than 140 years in prison on 10 counts of sexual abuse.
Raisman has been a powerful supporter for sex abuse survivors and used her platform speak out against USA Gymnastics for employing a man like Nassar. Her retirement comes as the organization struggles to gain back trust among its athletes.