She’s breaking her silence. Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney has opened up publicly for the first time about the sexual abuse she says she endured from former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, who was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison after pleading guilty to multiple counts of sexual assault.

McKayla sat down with Savannah Guthrie of NBC News for a Dateline interview, which will air Sunday night at 7 p.m, ET, to open up about Larry’s sex abuse scandal. In a preview from the special, the 22-year-old says Larry molested her for the first time when she was just 13 years old – and then continued to abuse her “hundreds” of times over the next five years.

larry nassar

“He told me that he was gonna do a checkup on me and that was the first day I was abused,” the athlete explained. “He said that nobody would understand this and the sacrifice that it takes to get to the Olympics. So you can’t tell people this.” She adds, “I was actually like, ‘That makes sense. I don’t want to tell anybody about this.’ I didn’t believe that they would understand.”

According to Vanity Fair, McKayla spoke at a luncheon for the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children on Tuesday, April 17, and admitted she sometimes questions if her “gymnastics career was really even worth it.”

“Sometimes you’re just left in the dust, and you have to pick up the pieces of your life,” she explained. “That has been the hardest part for me, but it’s always three steps forward, two steps back. And the one thing gymnastics did teach me was: When you fall, you gotta get back up.”

Have a tip? Send it to us! Email In Touch at