24 February 2020

US gymnastics star Simone Biles reveals she still has 'love and passion' for the sport despite sexual abuse by Larry Nassar

Legendary American gymnast Simone Biles says she still has 'love and passion' for the sport in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal with disgraced team doctor Larry Nassar.

In January 2018, Nassar was sentenced to 175 years in prison after nearly 160 women came forward, including Biles, to accuse him of sexually abusing them.

And while the ordeal severely affected the 19-time world champion, Biles is insistent she cannot lay the blame at the door of the sport.

Speaking to BBC News the 22 year-old said: "With the stuff that's happened with USA gymnastics that really hasn't dimmed my love and my passion for the sport, personally. 

"I just feel like as an organisation that is where the nudges come from. But other than that I still love the sport as a whole. I can't blame the sport."

In an in-depth interview, the four-time Olympic champion also spoke about racial abuse, which she says she has only faced once in her career.

"In 2013 one of the Italians was kind of upset that we were African-American and winning so she said 'If we all painted our skin black then maybe we would win too'," she added.

"I understand she was upset but you don't have to take it out on your racial backgrounds."

After she retires, Biles plans on travelling and investing her time into the foster care industry, after she was in and out of foster care herself during her childhood.

She said: "After the Olympics I plan on doing a tour that I'm hosting here in the US and after that I know I'll be travelling. 

"I'm still pretty young so I feel like I'm not exactly sure what I want to do but I think if it has anything to do with foster kids or the foster youth and being a voice for them, I would love to do that."

However, despite planning her life after gymnastics, Biles is adamant she will not quit in the near future.

She said: "I feel like whenever I was younger you go through rough patches in your sport that make you want to quit, but I always remember the reasons as to why I started this sport and that's because I have a love and passion for it. 

"And if you give up on your bad days then you don't know what's going to come next."

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