“Athlete A” was a moniker given to the nameless athlete who first reported Larry Nassar, the Olympic physician and convicted baby abuser, to U.S.A. Gymnastics. That gymnast, who has since revealed her identification, is Maggie Nichols, one of many courageous topics in Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk’s newest documentary (out now on Netflix), concerning the group’s lengthy historical past of abuse and cover-ups. Although it focuses on one important perpetrator, the movie adeptly juggles varied shifting elements, such because the ruthless nature of coaching and the aftermath of talking out.
One in every of these elements entails The Indianapolis Star, the newspaper that first ran an article in 2016 concerning the institutional abuse inside U.S.A. Gymnastics. After that piece ran, the reporters began receiving responses from former gymnasts about Nassar, who, underneath the guise of medical apply, sexually abused a whole bunch of women and younger ladies. The physician appeared “good” or “quirky,” in accordance with interviewees, particularly in comparison with their militant coaches, notably Bela and Martha Karolyi, who many athletes have stated perpetuated an oppressive surroundings ripe for every kind of different abuse, together with weight-shaming.
Cohen and Shenk amplify the voices of the survivors whereas recognizing that Nassar’s arrest doesn’t dissipate the ache or deep-rooted exploitation. Steve Penny, the previous president and chief govt of U.S.A. Gymnastics (who has since been charged), and Rhonda Faehn, the group’s former vice chairman, turned a blind eye for years, quite a few survivors have stated. The athletes endured cyberbullying for talking out and invasive investigations into their sexual historical past to discredit their claims.
These ladies get some type of belated justice, however there’s much more work to be executed — which turns into shatteringly clear when it’s revealed that, all in all, roughly 500 ladies got here ahead about Nassar.
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content material. Working time: 1 hour 43 minutes. Watch on Netflix.