WASHINGTON D.C., Mich. (WLNS) – Olympic gold medalist and Mid-Michigan native Jordyn Wieber testified before Congress on Wednesday. She is one of hundreds of women who say she was sexually abused by team doctor Larry Nassar and now she’s looking to Congress for change.
Wieber was joined on the stand by three other athletes, one of them being fellow Olympic gymnast Jamie Dantzscher.
Wedneday’s hearing was about discussing ways to better protect athletes from assault moving forward and members of Congress agree.
“Today’s hearing represents the next step in our investigation,” said U.S. Senator Jerry Moran.
“We want to fight it, and correct it and prevent it from happening again,” U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal stated.
“Now it’s time for change because the current and future athletes don’t deserve to live in anxiety, fear or be unprotected like we were,” said Wieber.
As Wieber and those testifying on Wednesday revealed daunting experiences of sexual abuse to members of a U.S. Senate Subcommittee, the question remains…what steps should Congress take to ensure that athletes feel protected from predators?
Olympic athlete Jamie Dantzscher recommends examining policies of when a doctor or coach is allowed to put their hands on an athlete.
“There was times Larry was touching me over my leotard in the middle of the gym in Texas at the training center and everyone was there and no one thought anything of it because it seemed normal in gymnastics,” said Dantzscher.
Part of the conversation even consisted of believing athletes if they come forward and taking action when they do.
Wieber also says noticing red flags for instance, if a coach tries to distance a parent from an athlete.
“I think there’s just so many different levels of intimidation going on and I think especially for our parents and right now I don’t feel confident that our parents should be able to trust the governing bodies,” said Wieber.
That’s not all, U.S. Senator Gary Peters says sexual abuse of this magnitude can never happen again at Michigan State University.
“We have to make sure that the university stands behind the victims, the university has an obligation to be there for you, to be there to also assist in the healing process,” said Senator Peters.
The subcommittee also plans to hold another hearing to get testimony from officials with U.S.A. Gymnastics and Michigan State University on May 22nd.
We’ll be sure to keep you updated as the fallout from the Larry Nassar scandal unfolds.